Diversity of Photography, Jasmina Cubrilo
Continuing on her previous research based on appropriation, remodeling, remixing and analysis of certain techniques and medium, Slavica Panic in this project focuses her attention above all on the relationship between digital and analog (technology), from digital to analog presentation at most and the process of mediation of new by an older medium. Her previous work – collages, prints and billboards represented the theme of public sphere by using the mechanisms of (female) body representation, sexuality, and also the mechanisms of manufactured desire used in the advertising industry and in the mass media in general. “Portraits of diversity” in the representation of their theme face the aspects of the private sphere, and are dealing with the theme of relationships inside the family and close friends circle. Portraits of the intimate circle are done using a digital camera and the shots are developed, without any photo manipulation and computer tampering, on photo paper. By doing this Panic has reversed the digital back to analog and replaced the postmodern digital manipulation with a contemporary analog/modern manual technique. With this original technique the photo shots of the portraits are grouped in pairs, and later cut into more or less same size stripes, which are onwards interlinked following the model of weaving. The result of this procedure is a vague image made out of partially recognizable shapes and sharp edges, which sometimes achieve an unintentional effect of long exposition in photography. This image in the analog world has a reference to a collage or mosaic, and in the realm of digital a scrambled image. The basic parts of which the image is made of also have a reference to a tesserae/small piece of paper in the analog realm and, on the other hand, a pixel in the realm of digital. In addition, these works are based on the foundation of dynamic interaction of media, techniques, intention, but also on a mere accident. Finally, with these works representing the private segment of life by using the most common of all models used in the public sphere they are referring to a new configuration of the public and private domain, in whose (re) shaping media play a large role. There is also the database “Bank of Images”, which is conceptually linked with the work of Panic, in which advertising creative find photos needed for the development of advertising ventures they undertake. Inside this database there are images grouped under the title “Portraits of Diversity”. This subcategory stores the photos of the unique and interesting faces, which surpass the mainstream representation (a fact that is obvious by merely looking at the title of the above mentioned subcategory), and are, therefore, rarely used by advertising creative.
While working in the field of “automatic production of image and sight” (Lev Manovich), Panic in her project “Portraits of Diversity” is actually focusing on the “revival” of photography by redefining its place and meaning in the contemporary society overdosed by media images. If the usage of digital technology introduced a certain amount of doubt in photography’s capability to give an instant and transparent identity between the image and the referent, and generally brought photography in the constantly growing mass of virtual media, than photography is no more only dealing with identifying and memorizing, but above all it is dealing with informing. Having that in mind, the examples shown in the “Portraits of Diversity” project, which through a series of steps could be identified as a third photography/portrait, delivered by interlinking the two photographs/portraits, are deconstructing photography as a “paradigmatic example of logo centralism” (David Phillips) and transforming it into a fragmented structure which is based on the logics of “cut & paste” command (the recycled avangard strategy of collage), movable windows, html tables, commands with which usage a person is allowed access and manipulation of information. Photography is yet another of the numerous materials for media sampling, or to be more precise, another product of sampling, and again another information, which contents and meaning establish more links, leading to yet another information.