dinsdag, januari 26, 2010

 

Mouse speak




Reworking of  a picture from the Washington Post. Copyright Villa La Repubblica 2010.
(Click to enlarge). Orinial picture can be seen here or here.

Now and then I like to rework pictures from the internet. I prefer to do so by using the most basic and primitive facility I have: the ‘paint’ facility, using my mouse as a brush or a pencil. Of course there are far more intricate and sophisticated facilities but those are for making things perfect which is not at all my aim. There is no way in making the world look like more perfect than it is and moreover I like the viewer to see how my hand has been working. Seeing my hand’s activities is like feeling my breath (so be warned!).

Now it is easy to find random pictures just by surfing, but I’m usually not surfing having the reworking of pictures in mind. So I’ve decided to add some structure to my thirst for pictures by using a search engine. I use the search engine Alltheweb because it is easier than Google. When just typing ‘a’ lots of pictures were offered to me. Most pictures being about the recent earthquake in Haiti, sports and the Massachusetts by-elections.

I chose the above picture from the Washington Post web site – a picture of the Haiti earth quake - because at first sight it doesn’t really need any reworking. It’s a fascinating picture as it shows us three faces of humanity: Struggling Man, Rotting Corpses and invisible bones well stored away in a City of the Dead. And there is another aspect: the man’s shadow on the ground.

Struggling Man is a man who is covering his nose and mouth against the stench of the rotting corpses. Maybe he is a relative of the dead people on the cart. Maybe he is a passer-by as most living people are.

His shadow is moving with him as long as there is any light to make it move, imitating all his gestures but without any blood, sweat or inner emotions.

The Rotting Corpses are piled on a cart seemingly ready for a removal. They are man in a state in between Struggling Man and dead bones in a grave. They are dead but clearly not in peace. They still belong to the visual world. They are not the glorious corpses of French Romantic painting but they still play their role in this picture in front of the graveyard, sending their stench to the passer-by who is struggling not to be like them. As such the picture reminds me of the dances of death from the middle ages.

The City of the Dead behind the scene doesn’t seem to be affected by the earth quake. It is standing there solidly, vast and enviable. The dead city is unaffected by emotions, blood and sweat, just like Struggling Man’s shadow. The only difference is that the graves don’t move and are there apparently eternally.

The whole scene is covered by a tropical blue sky which reminds me of beach holiday advertisements.

By reworking this picture there wasn’t really anything to add. Any addition would almost be blasphemous. The picture is complete in itself. Trying to make it even more moving would make it pathetic or just kitsch. So I just ‘dephotographed’ it. I left the sky and the cart with corpses intact.

BP

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