#Whatisit #Surrealism #Surreal
The work #whatisit consists of 26 photographs, which I posted on Instagram. The series focuses on something tiny: The cups, glasses and bottles I am drinking out. I wanted to photograph something completely normal in a new, interesting angle. Instagram helped me to convert a banality in something abstract.
The Russian photographer Alexander Rodtschenko was part of the „Neues Sehen“ movement. He stated, that only photography can picture the new world in the 1920s – the skyskrapers, the steam-engines, the architecture. Only something technical can capture a new artificial world, made by engineers and architects. Rodtschenko used special perspectives to document the progress in society. One of this perspectives was the bird’s eye view.
In 2015 we are not only driving our cars and living in skyscrapers. Besides the natural and the artificial world of the 1920s humans have created a third dimension – the social web. Hence, which medium is able to capture this new world? Photographs made with smartphones. We are carrying them with us all the time, making it a spontanous tool to photograph everything around us. In addition, the smartphones connect us with the internet. It enables us to communicate with the whole world. By posting my pictures on Instagram I am giving a tribute to this new world. I am showing my photograph in theory to anyone who is online. The photographs can be discussed, liked and shared – thus they create the interaction typical for the social world.
What are the photographs showing?
Instagrammers are trying to find the extraordinary in their daily life – which is per se paradox. Daily life is normal, it wouldn’t be daily life if it would be extraordinary.
So, like the Instagrammers, I pictured daily life: I photographed the glasses, cups, bottles and cans out of which I drank my water, coffee, beer, tea and Coca Cola. The pictures were made in bird’s eye view, like Rodtschenko I wanted to photograph daily life in a new perspective. (Have you ever watched the bottle neck closely before you drink?)
But how did I make the pictures extraordinary?
André Breton stated, that creativity means getting rid of all the burdens of the past, of all the realistic structures. He wanted the banalities of daily life to look strange, like magic, like a dream. He called this movement in the 1920s „Surrealism“. Surrealism is a very powerful method of converting the normal into the extraordinary. How, however, could a surreal picture look like in the new world of the social web? Again I use my smartphone.
The first photograph of this series was a cup of coffee. The black round against the white background reminded me somehow of an inverted moon. I started to upload the photograph on Instagram – and realized that there is a filter called „moon“, which perfectly matched my thoughts. „Moon“ converted the photograph in a black-and-white picture with high contrast. It alienated the picture and – like in surrealism – made a banality extraordinary. As soon as the photograph was online, it triggered the imagination of friends an completely unknown people. They started to comment on the pictures – and discussing what it is.