Five Letters and One Questionnaire (2018)
website, digital files, video installation
to view: fivelettersandonequestionnaire.online
Five Letters and One Questionnaire is part of a larger research project that aims to reframe art museums with a theoretical framework derived by the now ubiquitous digital image. The reframing of art museums would generate a new relationship between us and art, that is a friendship --
A friendship that is conceptualized by Foucault and Agamben as “a way of life as self becoming other”, only to be formed contemporarily, with something we’ve been calling art. What does it mean to look at and understand works of art as a friend? How and when does such a friendship become possible? I want to argue that it happens in concurrence with the digital revolution of our time: when a work of art is being turned into a digital image, a set of trackable and extractable data and/or metadata, it gains the potential to “move offline” and become a version of the world— as small as personal realities, as large as its social and political conditions, in which one inevitably finds oneself. The construction of reality and one’s selfhood within it coincide with the mission of two spaces that have become the most crucial sites to represent art in our time: the old-fashioned physical space of the art museum, and the new but ubiquitous space materialized as the digital screen. From the (in)visibility conditioned by the two spaces arises the ontology of digital images, which I would see as a framework to re- configure art museums of our contemporary time, and a paradigm to re-assign the value of art. The reframing entails a reworking of our understanding of time, for the present becomes a multitude of the past and a repetition towards the future. In a present as such, the answer to the friendship would unveil: what is a friendship, if it’s not an I that is not one.
The video installation, the website and the downloadable files accompany a written, critical essay as its visual counterpart. In the end, what would better exemplify the potential of digital images, than a work of art that is a digital image?