Fine Arts – Photography



A Short History of Photography by Walter Benjamin

Garage publishing program in collaboration with Ad Marginem Press

A new edition of the book, a joint publication between Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and Ad Marginem Press in 2013.

The anthology includes three works by German philosopher, critic, writer, and translator Walter Benjamin, which speculate on photography: A Short History of Photography; Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century; and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. The afterword is supplied by well-known photography historian Vladimir Levashov.

In his essay A Short History of Photography (1931), Walter Benjamin did not seek to chronicle the development of photography; rather, he contemplated the important consequences of the invention of photography for the global culture: “At about the same time as the formation of the technology for reproduction, the conception of great works was changing. One can no longer view them as the productions of individuals; they have become collective images, so powerful that capacity to assimilate them is related to the condition of reducing them in size.” The essay introduced several concepts that Benjamin would later elaborate in his most famous piece, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – in particular, the notion of “aura”. The author provided insight into the influence that the early photography technology had exerted on the formation of its aura as well as into separate genres and individual artists such as David Octavius Hill, August Sander and Eugene Atget (the latter viewed by Benjamin as a precursor to Surrealism).

In his essay Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century (1935), Benjamin studied new relationships between art and technology during the era of rapid technological progress. Apart from visual art, he discussed architecture, which had seen the first applications of construction in iron, the invention of panoramic paintings, and the formation of the entertainment industry at World Exhibitions in the 19th century. According to Benjamin, the emergence of photography brought about the renewal of artistic language and intensified formal explorations: “As the scope of communications increased, the informational importance of painting diminished. The latter began, in reaction to photography, firstly to emphasize the coloured elements of the image. As Impressionism gave way to Cubism, painting created for itself a broader domain, into which for the time being photography could not follow it.”




Photography, in turn, from the middle of the 19th century onwards, had enormously extended its marketability and, in Benjamin’s opinion, eventually separated from art to become a commodity. Attempting to isolate art from the development of technology and prevent the former’s surrender to the market, non-conformists created the conception of the total work of art and rallied around the banner of L’art pour l’art.

The anthology concludes with Walter Benjamin’s most acclaimed publication, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936). In this essay, he evolved his own term “aura,” the “here and now” of an art object, its unique existence in space and time, which defines its authenticity. Reproduction destroys the aura and depreciates the object’s historical value and authority. According to Benjamin, the destruction of the aura was socially driven; the process resulted from two circumstances related to the increasing significance of the masses, characterised by the “ardent … bent toward overcoming the uniqueness of every reality by accepting its reproduction … [The] ‘sense of the universal equality of things’ has increased to such a degree that [the masses] extract it even from a unique object by means of reproduction.”

A committed Marxist philosopher, Benjamin was fascinated by the ever-increasing influence of the masses on the role of art: “The mass is a matrix from which all traditional behavior toward works of art issues today in a new form. Quantity has been transmuted into quality. The greatly increased mass of participants has produced a change in the mode of participation.” The masses seek collective distraction, whereas art demands individual concentration from the spectator – hence the rising popularity of cinema at the expense of painting.

Benjamin emphasized that art’s functions tended to change over time. For instance, he pointed out that mechanical reproduction emancipated the works of art from their parasitical dependence on ritual and removed the semblance of art’s autonomy forever. It was photographic technology that reversed “the total function of art … Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics.” In this regard, particularly interesting are the author’s thoughts on the fundamental differences between Fascism and Communism in treating politics and art – especially if we agree with him that all efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in war.




Fine Arts – Photography by Filipe Garcia


Filipe Garcia voluntariamente ambíguo, problematiza questões fundamentais do âmbito da investigação cognitiva, numa estrutura semanticamente profunda a determinar as representações e as suas relações sintacticamente densas. Encontramos na sua obra analogias e semelhança com o mundo físico da estrutura atómica e as suas leis e com o mundo psíquico. Nas questões que a obra permite encontramos a problematização da heterogeneidade da experiência espacial e da percepção no tempo em interacção íntima, como condições de possibilidade da experiência e sua inteligibilidade. Reinterpretam-se as relações entre local e global na combinatória de um jogo puramente construtivo, afirma-se o mundo da experiência como totalidade aberta.

Filipe Garcia voluntarily ambiguous, problematizes fundamental issues within the cognitive research, in a deep semantic representation to determine their structures relationships, syntactically dense.
Find analogies in his work and resemblance to the atomic structure of the physical world and its laws of the psychic world. The issues that we find in the work allows the questioning of the heterogeneity of spatial experience and perception of time in close interaction, such as conditions of possibility of experience and its intelligibility. Reinterpret the relationships between local and global in a purely constructive combinatorial game. States the world of experience as an open totality.

A sua expressão não é isenta de vínculos num diálogo entre a intuição livre e as leis formativas da arte a que se acrescenta a invenção de sua própria regra. Afirma-se aqui um jogo de correspondências, na estrutura visível da obra e todo o trabalho cultural que a antecede. Assim na construção da verdade que lhe corresponde encontramos a estrutura simbólica da sua versão dos mundos possíveis. As possibilidades de existência de uma estrutura em que as noções de parte e de todo são intercambiadas, mostram-nos numa relação sem centro privilegiado, as formas que se vêm como padrões das forças que suportam a existência.

Its expression is not without ties a dialogue between free intuition and the formative laws of art that adds to the invention of his own rule. It is stated here a set of correspondences in the visible structure of the work and all the cultural work that precedes it. Thus the construction of truth to which it corresponds we find the symbolic structure of his version of all possible worlds. The possibilities of existence of a structure in which the notions of part and whole are interchanged, show us a relationship without privileged center, the forms themselves as patterns of forces that support the existence.

A expressão é intensa, nos limites da visibilidade, a unidade múltipla e articulada entre o linear e o pictórico, em contradições dinâmicas onde tudo se atrai ou repele, se homogeniza ou heterogeniza. A linha modula uma espacialidade prévia que a metamorfose exige, nos seus diversos graus de actualização e potencialização relativas. Material complexo o que imerge no plano da composição, nas zonas de indeterminação, de indescernibilidade que nos revelam as forças e os seus devires, numa heterogénese que nos restitui o infinito. No seu modo de formar enunciam-se operando com intuição, as questões da construção da complexidade e da exigência de um repensar aquilo que nos pensa como composto de multiplicidades. Também a ordem dos coexistentes e as complexas dinâmicas do que se produz continuamente. O encontro do especulativo com o real num tactear feito de rupturas que tenta aceder a uma verdade depositada no mundo.

The expression is intense within the limits of visibility, multiple and articulated unit between the linear and pictorial, in dynamic contradictions where everything attracts or repels, is homogenized or heterogeniza.
The line modulates a spatiality that prior to metamorphosis requires, in its various degrees of updating and relative potentiation. Complex material which grows into the plane of composition, areas of indeterminacy, of indescernibilidade that reveal the strengths and its becomings, in a heterogenesis that restores the infinite.
In his way of forming enunciate-operating with intuition, the issues of building complexity and the requirement for a rethink on what you think as composed of multiplicities. Also the order of coexisting and the complex dynamics of what is produced continuously. The meeting of speculative with a real groping made ​​of ruptures that tries to access a truth deposited in the world.

Filipe Garcia trabalha numa liberdade intelectual que prescinde da lógica clássica da não contradição e do terceiro excluído. Neste processo que nos inventa na condição experimental e afirmativa que pressupõe a libertação das possibilidades já dadas, esta um profundo vitalismo que não renuncia à sua distancia de ordem simbólica. Coisa mental, o objecto material que a manifesta é aqui traço aproximativo. Quanto à linguagem para que a consciência tende acrescentar-se-á pelo uso e frequência das obras de arte e será sempre em relação ao sentido (entendido problematicamente), aquilo que está implicado na nossa existência, e aqui é o trabalho da sensação.

Filipe Garcia works in intellectual freedom that waives the classical logic of non-contradiction and the excluded middle. In this process he invents in the affirmative and experimental condition that requires the release of the possibilities already given, this deep vitalism that does not renounce its distance from the symbolic order. Mental thing, the material object that expresses the approximate trace is here. As for the language to which consciousness tends will be added to by the use and frequency of works of art and will always be relative to the direction (problematically understood), to what is involved in our lives, and here is the work of sensation.

Detachment in a poem its realizing the forest of all things from the lake sky of the soul gloriously uncontrolled in an atmosphere of cosmic life.

Mutability through expression the reality of emancipation living the nature of colors in a rhythmic ideal of sleep harmony of everlasting life.

Pleasure through perpetual truth flowering emotions of paradise the evening body passing between the soul of immensity.

Sabemos que o jogo da arte não é só um jogo, que a compreensão e a criação caminham juntas. Aqui, o jogo como sistema de representação não alheia ao conhecimento de que é expressão construtiva, regula-se internamente por processos de imaginação poética, atentos às dinâmicas do sistema cultural que o determina. A simbolização aparece como modo de apreensão da realidade. Partilha com a ciência, a tarefa essencial, para uma mesma actividade cognitiva, de criar sistemas de símbolos, estando a diferença nos processos simbólicos utilizados. Aqui o sistema não verbal é de referencia múltipla, indirecta e complexa e passível de interpretação não consensual.

We know that the game’s of art is not only a game, that understanding and creation walk together. Here, the game as a representation system, not oblivious to the knowledge that is constructive expression, is regulated internally by processes of of poetic imagination, attentive to the dynamics of the cultural system which determines. The symbolization appears as a mode of apprehending reality. Sharing with science, the essential task for the same cognitive activity, creating symbol systems, the difference being in the symbolic processes used. Here the nonverbal system are of multiple, indirect and complex, and subject to nonconsensual interpretation.

Creative poet in love the principle unity patience joy this mystery of life rising from the sleeper sound of the performance beauty laid to rest in the hearth of faith.

The harmony independence overflowing our life the people drifting over again into the perfection of acknowledge the ideal of truth by the love wisdom of ages.

The infinite literature of humanity co- operation comprehension found nowhere through personal desires realize the surface imperfection revealed on each walk of existence.