In Defense of the Poor Image
An exhibition by Victor Wang materialising texts written by Hito Steyerl
2 - 21 March 2013
Victor Wang was born in Vancouver, Canada
He is stuyding at The Royal Collage of Art
Victor currently lives and works in London
A conversation between Victor Wang and Matthew Ferguson
Matthew Ferguson: How does In Defense of the Poor Image relate to the exhibition?
Victor Wang: For example, in In Defense of the Poor Image. Hito speaks about the contemporary hierarchy of images, based on things such as sharpness and resolution. Some of the objects reference this class position amongst the images by utilizing low-resolution images, or images that are out of focus. Just how low resolution was utilized by Woody Allen’s film Deconstructing Harry, when the main character in the film becomes out of focus, but not because It’s a technical problem, but because the character has a sort of disease, which is also reference in the essay. Things in focus tend to be identified with quality, while being out of focus lowers one’s value as an image, this is something I wanted to investigate. Another example would be the GIFs in the exhibition, and how they reference the Third Cinema manifesto, “For an Imperfect Cinema,” by Juan Garcia Espinosa, where the imperfect cinema is one that strives to overcome the divisions of labor within class society. Where Hito points out that Espinosa reflects on the promises of new media. And predicts that the development of video technology will jeopardize elitist position of traditional filmmakers. I believe the Gifs are a representation of that imperfect cinema.
MF: What about the arial view?
VW: Ya, for me I was really interested in Hito’s text (In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective) and the growing importance of aerial views like Google Map views, satellite views, etc, and how this is affecting our spatial understanding in relation the a linear horizontal perspective. These ideas of a non linear horizon really influenced the installation of the objects, not going for the usual methods of exhibition installation, so you’ll find objects that are off centered, floating in the air, or images placed on the ground i.e Hans Vredeman De Vries, Perspective 39, 1605. We also spoke about a possible event including Google streetview that I’m very excited about, which I believe is a great component to the exhibition.
MF: There are also some paintings, or what look to be paintings.
VW: Again, I see them as references to the horizon perspective in painting, but more importantly to this withdrawal from representation that Hito refers to in her essay The Spam of the Earth: Withdrawal from Representation, where image-value is not defined by resolution and content, but by velocity, intensity, and speed. I made these objects with that in mind, where there is only moments of clarity in their representation, I should mention that they’re also prints of paintings, representing the screen, and not actually paintings. This is also accompanied by other components sourced from the Internet.