'"TAR is a tremendous flight of fantasy for those who need to plan a way to escape from this planet or to save it."


2015 January Stories

The emergence of illusion

Lost in Cinemagraph



Almost as though we wished to rediscover ourselves, photography often helps us as support and witness of a rapid succession of experiences, of life and the consequent relationship with the world surrounding us. These solutions become not only documents of photographic truthfulness (in line with what the ever-significant Roland Barthes tells us via the classic status of photography) but also possible solutions of a parallel dimension that is as real as its subsequent visual transposition. What has been taking place for over a century in the field of photographic illusions is a synergy of opposites that interact, an aesthetic collaboration between two realities. If we wish to consider the photographic image as a trace of reality, something that has effectively taken place, we can then affirm that the product we are turning to starts from a tangible experience despite the fact that this very suggestion lays the basis for the emergence of illusion. In this way, the photographic image oscillates between two stable and defined positions, a real centre and an unreal one, each time concealing its actual identity and leading to possible references to a past hidden by passing time. The continuous transition between illusion and revelation is typical of photography, which always refers to a mental place in which to document this sensorial overturning. Exploring the many examples of this new digital technique called Cinemagraph, coined in 2012 by two photographers, Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, the first “instantaneous” sensation is that we are confronted with a marvellous technical combination of the two most important inventions of the 19th century: photography and cinema (and then video). In far more simple terms, a cinema graph is a GIF file that appears as a photo but contains some small moving details. A static image, a photograph, which appears to come to life before our eyes, making us perceive the fluid “sensation” of reality. A vital flow, as Henri Bergson might say, or a “vitalistic” disturbance, as Georges Bataille might add, or perhaps in the most immediate present an instant of pretence that suddenly immerses us in reality. If we observe the same photograph repeatedly, it repeats itself untiringly, leading us to a level of our visual perception and of our memory that is far more complex and structured. Conceptually, this research finds itself in “another” way of describing a space of the possible: here photography becomes the ideal place in which to retain and transmute new imagined situations in a real visual construction. Whence the importance of the photographic medium applied to the most varied contexts able to create or recreate a new form of theatricalisation of our reality, a sort of renewed visual stage in which to be able to trace out the potential limit between true and probable. In the light of what has been stated thus far, the Cinemagraph seems truly to offer a new frontier in the technology of the visible or of the anthropology of the visual, but on closer examination, these vital instants on the contrary betray an almost “funereal” account of something that probably has been and has occurred but which, at the end of the day, does not differ much from has already been stratified by both photography, cinema and video. The French critic André Bazin, analysing these two important media, picks up on the same psychological need that has characterised painting and sculpture, namely the desire to cheat death and survive the passing of time. He affirms that the ineluctability of death can through appearance arrive at “presenting” a world endowed with an autonomous temporary destiny. Making use of psychoanalysis, André Bazin coined the famous slogan “mummy complex”, a mental condition driving people to preserve the appearance of things destined to disappear. In this regard, the discovery of photography and of its extension – namely cinema – contribute to a revival of the illusion of conquering death thanks to an objective mechanical reproduction, albeit by depicting the subject as other. If we bear these reflections in mind, then the expedients of the Cinemagraph, which initially entertain and appeal to the observer, soon drive that instant to an acclaimed static situation and to a frustration of the experience greater than the single photograph is able to cause. The instant does not come to life but it does stress that even if has occurred, it is now no more, congealing the image in a place and time now in the past.





This web page is based on the TRANSCENDENCE concept as published in TAR BOOK Fall/Winter edition 2014.

Please file under #TAR #TRANSCENDENCE



David Lynch,  Giampiero Bodino, Donatella Bollani, Samir Bhomick, Prudence Farrow Bruns , Lee Bul, Will Buckingham, Laura Byrne, Serenella and David Ciclitira, Adeline de Monseignat, Donovan, Jack Doyle, Hamish Fulton, Yang Fudong, Kendell Geers, Ralph Gibson, Massimo Grimaldi, Zaha Hadid, John Hagelin, Michael Heizer, Hugh Jackman, Mikal Maku, Gabriel Mejia, Glasshouse / Lital Dotan & Eyal Perry, Fabiola Naldi, Floris Neususs,  Glexis Novoa, Sherman Ong, Peeping Tom, Luca Pozzi, Thomas Roma , Norman D. Rosenthal,  Carlo Rovelli, Chiharu Shiota,  Canan Tolon, Greg Thatcher.


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