stephen blaise deconstruction

DECONSTRUCTION (The New Photography)

HOW DO WE SPEND OUR TIME? IS IT IMPORTANT?

TURN YOUR HEAD TO THE LEFT, SHOULDERS BACK, LEAN FORWARD, FACE THE CAMERA, ELONGATE YOUR SPINE, DON'T MOVE, CLOSE YOUR EYES, BREATHE...

DECONSTRUCTION places a hyper-focus on physical presence and deconstructs common place actions within a defined space and time. Like 'The Perfect Human' by Jørgen Leth, in which the subjects interact with objects, create identities, and perform tasks within a given space, DECONSTRUCTION focuses on specific directed actions between photographer and subject during the course of a photo shoot.

In this context, the single shot or ‘Decisive Moment’ in photography no longer exists. In the past, what was traditionally a still shoot, is now a series of continuous moments strung together and captured at 23.98 frames per second or more. With new motion capture technology and improved camera sensors, ultra high-definition stills are now commonly pulled in post.

DECONSTRUCTION is a collaboration between conceptual artist Stephen Blaise and art director Norisuke Yoshioka. The work is separated into two distinct parts. The first consists of large-scale black aluminum plates with white text containing verbal directives assigned to the subject during the course of a photo-shoot. The second part of the project consists of a video installation with two separate screens joined side by side. The screen on the left displays the instructional text, while the screen on the right shows a single subject acting out the instructions that appear on the opposite screen. The text is graphic and stark, the directions are succinct and absolute.

In DECONSTRUCTION, the defined space within the frame is the universe. The exploration of movement and actions in this space places emphasis on time and our conscious choice of actions. In 'Waiting for Godot’, Samuel Beckett raises the question of how one fills the finite amount of time that is their life, without absolute knowledge or purpose? With work? Leisure? Interacting with others? Sleep? Possibly, the creative act?

Further, the artist asks, how unseen elements which happen outside the frame factor in? What thoughts, actions, desires, emotions occur in preparation of this exchange and precede the events recorded in the frame? For instance, aesthetic decisions made before the shoot, involving lighting, color temperature, background, styling or set design to name a few. Which seemingly small, incidental actions such as transportation, sleep, personal hygiene, scheduling, arranging meals, and a myriad of minutia must occur in order to realize the actual experience?

Søren Kierkegaard asserted that conscious reality is very complex and without an "objective" or universally known value: the individual must create value by affirming it and living it, not by simply talking about it or philosophizing it in the mind. He posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it. Thus humanity is destined to be faced with the absurd, or the absolute absurdity of existence in lack of intrinsic purpose. In DECONSTRUCTION, the artist asserts that value does not solely rest in the result but in the act or action itself. Through the act of doing one creates meaning.