Sunday, June 25, 2017

"(nothing more nothing less)"

The Mainlander's Andrew Witt (or Andrew Witt, writing in The Mainlander,) contributes yet another article on Vancouver and photography. Is it worth reading? Of course!

But Andrew -- this:

The common refrain heard over and over again when looking at Herzog’s photographs is often the following: “I remember that building…” or “That’s the back of my house!” (nothing more nothing less) — a position that sounds something like “Once upon a time ….” Regretfully, the photograph is approached not formally or socially, but is read through the hazy filters of personal (not collective) memory. Encouraged by this tendency, the spectator is emboldened to feel wistfully nostalgic towards the city and its past, rather than advancing an interpretive or critical position towards the image and its complicated history.

How is it that a news service that positions itself as a voice of the people can reduce people to their personal remembrances "(nothing more nothing less)." As someone who has written on Herzog's work (I am a co-author of the 2007 Herzog book that Andrew Witt attributes only to VAG curator Grant Arnold), I have discussed "formal and social" aspects of Herzog's work in relation to the emergent market city. What's more, the overwhelming public response to the VAG's 2007 Herzog exhibition marks a turning point in a city that for the longest time saw History as something that got in the way of making money. This shift is measured not only in an acceleration of interest in the city and its histories, but, as a result of this interest, a revival of a COPE party by those too young to remember Herzog's city of the 50s, 60s and 70s, but who see in it something worth fighting for.

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