Heart in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
While riding the subway home one evening, I saw the same movie poster ad affixed on multiple train platforms—but each experience was different in a way that challenged me to investigate. I decided to search the New York City subway system, night after night, to photograph the same advertisement in as many installations as I could find. The process created an opportunity to glean the fluid nature of originality and perception.
Differences in air bubbles, graffiti, shadows and available light, which otherwise escape a commuter’s notice, suggest that when considering the life of a print, copies become originals.
This reversal sets up a heightened awareness of our role as observer, participant and, for some, as photographer. As we see ourselves seeing images, the act of perception redefines an original as an event—an intersection of viewer and image at a point in time and space—not a prior, arbitrated assignment of value.
By embracing this fluid definition of originality and the resulting reflexive state of mind, images, as one type of artifact, easily break down into their socio-cultural traits under the authority of the self-aware viewer.
What do you think?