Karina Nimmerfall: cinematic maps



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Graz, 2007
120 pages
20,4 cm x 14,4 cm
96 b/w- plates
hardcover, cloth, sewn

Edition Camera Austria

ISBN: 978-3-900508-65-4

With an introduction by Raimar Stange and an essay by Norman M. Klein.
Edited by Maren Lübbke-Tidow.


At first glance, the “Cinematic Maps” photo series is reminiscent of 1960s’ concept art, for example the artist books of Ed Ruscha. With her work however, Karina Nimmerfall pursues her own aesthetic strategy. In “Cinematic Maps” – the title quotes cultural critic Norman M. Klein – she alludes to the modes of representing space and its allocation in U.S. film and television productions: to be more precise, the TV series “Law and Order”. This series, one that feigns a documentary style, is shot mostly on location and rarely in the studio. The result is an apparent realism, one further augmented by the display of supposedly accurate addresses, such as “Chandler Hinton Stock Brokerage, 19 Broad Street”; these titles – white writing on a black background – thus indicate the location of the film plot before every change of scene. Here the (map) text fulfils what Benjamin and Brecht wrote about photography: the picture needs a commentary.

And yet, the address is always precisely blurred – presumably for legal reasons; so as an example: the house number may be incorrect, standing only for an empty plot in the street. Nimmerfall has taken photographs of precisely this gap, formally deploying the establishing shot aesthetic used in most television series, presenting it with the address indicated in the show. Now it is correct at last, also in white writing on a black background. As a result, everything and nothing is right: “factual” documentation, underlined by the black-and-white pictures, competes with our “imaginary museum” (André Malraux): one that has long since been filled with impressions from the Law and Order style of TV series. Hence, an “objective” documentation is not (or no longer) possible. And thanks to media conditioning (of our memory), even the most matter-of-fact pictures now evoke a corona of associations. (Raimar Stange)