Myanmar: A Year After

The news is a foreign country for itself. They establish a sense of  “knowing what’s going on in the world” but they need to construct imaginary lands that only exist in the current discussion and instantly vanish when the spotlight of common interest moves on. When I stumbled upon this article in Quartz on the sobering up of Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar after the first year of getting into (some sort of) power, I tried to align the article with my own, personal view of Myanmar.  My overwhelming feeling, when I looked at the pictures I brought back from last year’s trip to Myanmar, was that of  opaqueness: You see, but you do not understand. Things are not what they seem, but the surfaces are blinding and overwhelm you.

Which either means I am not good at documentary photography, or the way I apprehend photography is not very fitting to deliver something about the political situation. I find the assumptions about the indexical qualities of photography highly dubious: A photograph always shows something that is actually there (or it cannot not show something) – but looking at these images, this does not seem to be the case…

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Abandon Technical Skill

1. Consider each part of the art object equal and abandon technical skill.

2. Detract from the material qualities of the artwork by equalising it with its context.

3. Disregard notions of beauty and aesthetics and instead produce art as “information”.

4. Fuse the work with its site of display and consider the public nature and possibility of its distribution (photographic reproductions).’

Lawrence Weiner

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