Quantity Not Known
Nine x 150 x 100 cm Digital prints on board
Quantity Not Known explores a relationship that exists between contemporary visual culture and disasters.
In contemporary life events too terrific to remember, like the Great East Japan Earthquake, are recorded in high definition moving image detail or majestically shot by professional photographers. These images–moving and still–can resurrect the past, trauma included, at any moment. Their potency increases over time as we come to terms with the events and thus their seduction never abates. They are accessible anywhere, from social media to print.
To examine this phenomenon from an artistic perspective I appropriated images of natural and man made disasters sourced from French Philosopher Paul Virilio’s publication Unknown Quantity (2001) and placed artist monographs and theoretical publications on top. Virilio believes in a qualitative relationship between disasters and technology. He argues for an observation of disasters in relation to the technology that wrought them. The Scale of a disaster, for example, relates directly to developments in technology whose goal is to become bigger, faster, more powerful with less friction and more efficiency. The bigger and faster the plane, the more devastating the plane crash for example. To me this makes sense.
Virilios publication features full colour double page spreads of disasters including the 1996 Kobi earthquake, the 1996 ICE Rail disaster in germany and 1998s TWA airline disaster. They are strangely appealing and, presented as a large format full colour coffee-table book, seductive.