Camera Austria International

37 | 1991

Symposion on Photography XI, Part I
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS OF EXISTENCE. OBJECTS / SIGNS / COMMODITIES

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  • HELEN CHADWICK
    Objects. Signs. Commodities.
  • WILLIE DOHERTY
    Two Names... Two Places... Two Minds
  • PAUL GROOT
    The Eye or The End of Photography
  • OLIVIER RICHON
    Looking & Incorporating
  • SLAVOJ ZIZEK
    Withdrawal Symptoms of Existence: The Final Scene of >>City Lights<<
  • ALEKSANDR CHUMAKOV
    Silence

Editorial

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS OF EXISTENCE. OBJECTS / SIGNS / COMMODITIES this was the theme of the 11th Symposium on Photography at the Styrian Autumn ’90. The first part of the presentations given there is now laid out in the issue on hand, no. 37 , while the contributions by Peer Weibel, who suggested the theme and gave its theoretical treatment, by Michael Wetzel, Thomas Locher, Tamara Horakova & Ewald Maurer, Rolf Walz and Allen McCollum will be published in issue no 38. at the beginning of October 1991 , just in time for the 12th Symposium on Photography.

 

Full text

Camera Austria International 37 | 1991
Editorial

WITHDRAWAL. SYMPTOMS OF EXISTENCE. OBJECTS/SIGNS/COMMODITIES this was the theme of the 11th Symposium on Photography at the Styrian Autumn ’90. The first part of the presentations given there is now laid out in the issue on hand, no. 37 , while the contributions by Peer Weibel, who suggested the theme and gave its theoretical treatment, by Michael Wetzel, Thomas Locher, Tamara Horakova & Ewald Maurer, Rolf Walz and Allen McCollum will be published in issue no 38. at the beginning of October 1991 , just in time for the 12th Symposium on Photography.

“Withdrawal Symptoms of Existence” as a topic aims at a debate on the concepts of the object and of existence of debate on the principal changes concerning the basic conditions for the arts and sciences: photography (whose invention and development must be seen as running parallel  to the “rule of commodities”) must, as the “ruling medium of the withdrawal of existence” (Michael Wetzel) achieve several tasks: being a technically produced (and reproducable) commodity, a copy image confirming reality, a fetish or an object replacing reality- in short: as material reality and significant imagery. Now as ever we cling to our view of reality on these two levels. Things are something other than what they signify: their quality, their utilitarian value need not necessaryily coincide with their value of significance or their exchange value. The process of abstraction initiated by the rule of commodities has led the order of objects and their representation into a crisis even in the 19th century, a crisis that has been described, depending on one’s ideologyc position, as ‘neglect of the object’ and ‘oblivion of existence’ (Martin Heidegger) or as ‘the mystic character of the commodity form, the fetish character of the commodity'(Karl Marx). We must, at last, become aware of the fact that OBJECTS do no more exist. We live in a world of commodities, of signs of the media. The said abstraction process  has intensified the sign character of the world. In the world of commodities and media the objects only circulate as specters – as signs or as commodities” (Peter Weibel).

The editors express their apprection to the symposium participants including the public whose contribution will be published in the discussion section in the next issue. We hope that the divergent approaches to the theme will make the publication as thrilling as the live event. The SYMPOSIUM ON PHOTOGRAPHY was a contribution of Forum Stadtpark to the Styrian Autumn ’90 and was principally financed by this festival.  We thank those in charge, especially director Horst Gerhard Haberl, for enabling us to continue the contemporary debate on photography through this series of symposia. We thank the British Council in Vienna and the Ministry of Education and Art for their financial support towards this publication.

Christine Frisinghelli

Contributions

Forum

Florian Schwinge

Martin Eberle

János Stekovics

Siegrun Appelt

Frank Watson

Exhibitions

Reinhard Braun: Bilder aus der Sowjetunion. 20 Sowjetische Fotografen 1917 – 1940. Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz

Reinhard Braun: “Gegen die Kunst muss jeder moderne kultivierte Mensch kämpfen”. Alexander M. Rodtschenko. Warwara F. Stepanowa, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Wien

Jutta Steininger: Getlinger photographiert Beuys 1950 – 1963. Städtisches Museum, Kalkar; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München; Hardhof-Espace Art & Culture Ebel, Basel; Museum moderner Kunst, Palais Liechtenstein, Wien; Neue Galerie, Kassel; Mönchehaus-Museum für Moderne Kunst, Goslar; Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Annemarie Hürlimann: Das ernsthafte Augenzwinkern des Alchemisten in der Dunkelkammer. Sigmar Polke. Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden

Annemarie Hürlimann: Max Ernst. Fotografische Portraits und Dokumente. Franziskanerkloster, Brühl

Roberta Valtorta: Gran positivo nel crudele spazio stenopeico. Paolo Gioli. Palazzo Fortuny, Venedig

Annemarie Hürlimann: Reiner Ruthenbeck. Fotografie 1956 – 1976. Düsseldorfer Kunstverein, Düsseldorf

Franz Niegelhell: Michael Zinganel. Qwertzuiop. Grazer Kunstverein, Graz; Galerie Zell am See, Schloss Rosenberg, Zell am See

Kerstin Braun: Embleme der Sehnsucht. Between madness and laughter. Mary Kelly. Knoll Galerie, Wien

Thomas Trummer: Vom Verschwinden der Dinge aus der Fotografie. Museum moderner Kunst, Palais Liechtenstein, Wien

Books

Thomas Trummer: James Welling. Photographs 1977 – 90

Jutta Mayer: Mike and Doug Starn

Christina Feller: Angelika Bader & Dietmar Tanterl. Die Hohe Schule des Vergessens

Jutta Mayer: New Scottish Photography

Jutta Steininger: Walker Evans and William Christenberry. Of Time & Place

Franz Niegelhell: Peter Fischli, David Weiss. Airports

Franz Niegelhell: Doppleranarchie. Wien 1967 – 1972. Mit Fotografien von Lisl Ponger

Christina Feller: Kurt Matt. Obere Hochwaldzone; Kurt Matt. Werke

Jutta Steininger: Ästhetik der Subversion. Medien, Macht und Widerstand. Op-Positions. We Are The World. You Are The Third World. Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam II

Christina Feller: Joachim Brohm. 1987; Joachim Brohm. Berlin 1990; Joachim Brohm. Industriezeit

Kerstin Braun: “Fotoseite”. Kommentierte Beiträge zur Fotografie aus der “Wiener Zeitung”

BilderLust; Tomi Ungerer. Photographie; Roy Schatt. James Dean. Ein Porträt; Bruce Weber. Bear Pond Book; Rainer Iglar. Arkadien; Nancy Honey. Woman to Woman

Jutta Mayer: Steelworks; Josip Klarica; Passagen der Photographie. Aktuelle Photokunst aus Polen

Franz Niegelhell: Heimrad Bäcker. Epitaph

Imprint

Publisher: Manfred Willmann.
Verein CAMERA AUSTRIA, Labor für Fotografie und Theorie
FORUM STADTPARK, Stadtpark 1, A-8010 Graz

Editor: Christine Frisinghelli
Editing Team: Reinhard Braun, Jutta Mayer, Thomas Brunner

Translation: Klaus Feichtenberger, Bärbel Fink, Wilfried Prantner