Klaus vom Bruch
and experiments with Ted Serios from the Jule Eisenbud archive
Curated by Eoin Donnelly and Sara Knowland
21/11 – 19/12/2015
open by appointment
opening 21/11, 17.00 – 21.00
Ted Serios claimed he could project visions directly from his mind onto photographic film. The video presented here is from the archive of Jule Eisenbud, a psychiatrist who believed Serios’s “thoughtography” to be genuine, and set about trying to prove it under laboratory conditions. The activities of Serios and Eisenbud point toward the tricky web of relations within photography, suggesting no distinction between a mental image and a photograph, confusing the subject and object, the viewer and the viewed.
For Roland Barthes, to reflect on the essence of photography meant restraining his tendencies as a semiotician and putting aside all technical and scientific classifications. Similarly, in Mimesis and Alterity, Michael Taussig refutes “terms like representation and expression …which depend on and erase all that is powerful and obscure about the mimetic”. The essential property of photography that compels both writers is something that evades critique – a complexity which derived from photography’s dual nature, as credible witness, and also a subjectivity that destabilises the real.
Today discussion of digital photography similarly employs a kind of numinous language – digital images are described as incorporeal, immaterial transmissions, the suggestion being they circulate as if having no physical support to facilitate their movement. This requires a doubling of consciousness – a sense in which the technical and scientific is appended to the wayward and irrational.
It’s a kind of provisional fiction that seems to bring us closer to the ontology of images, an illusion that we draw from or bestow upon them.
Special thanks to Danish Art Transport