For many of us, we’re living in a time of “I’ve seen it all before.” Or maybe it’s like that, I’ve seen anything else – I’m not sure. That thing – it’s… maybe, just maybe, kind of, like, like this, or maybe it’s not quite like this, but this thing I see reminds me of that. You know what I’m talking about. Or maybe it’s that thing What is his name? described to me by the third hand, or you know, come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure that’s that. Now it escapes me. But I promise something happened, and I can tell you I remember that it did. I’m just having trouble finding the words to say exactly what it is.
“What exactly is it” is of prime importance when we read the news of the day. We are shocked and appalled by the events of this past weekend. First, in Buffalo. Then in Laguna Woods. What happens is atrocity. We grieve and grieve for the lives lost. That’s a lot to handle.
Being able to describe what we see or experience is something that is the foundation of the Image. As a publication, we strive to express day by day what is happening in LA and the world. A lot of what Image writes about looks and what looks mean. The ability to say “exactly how” is desirable.
Some of the most interesting art today is considered to be its focal media – headlines, content, old subjective/objective debates. Contemporary artists such as Martine Syms, Alexandra Bell, Ja’Tovia Gary and American Artist all work on a variety of media and rules for rendering, recreating, shredding, and reusing media stories. mainstream media and on social platforms. They are stewards of more responsible storytelling practices. Among the many questions they ask: How can we best represent what happened? How can we correct harmful overstatement? How can we tell stories more accurately? How can we get closer to what exactly it is?
In moments of brutality and barbarism, it can be helpful to find quiet moments in which one can reflect. With all the narratives and anti-government narratives swarming with images, it’s important to find what artist Kenturah Davis calls “open space.” She meant it as a point of departure, a possibility. Open space is where thoughts, thoughts, and imaginations exist. It’s a place without the fuss of flamboyant gymnastics. Conversations drift into the abyss of rhetoric. “What exactly is it” is transformed into the opposite: “What exactly is it?” It is easy to get lost in the ambiguity.
But the open space is an opportunity for deeper inspection. They are also an opportunity for clarification. In painful moments, clarity can heal. The possibility is beyond the realm of calling things things. Atrocities do not deserve the dignity of legend or the mystery of myth. They demand a much more responsible form: criticism. Scholar Robin DG Kelley once observed: “For me, criticism is better than objectivity. Objectivity is a false stance.” How can one practice criticism appropriately? Where does criticism begin?
At Image, we believe it begins with carving out space. So here is a canvas to work with:
Print it out. Screengrab it. PDF it. Share, don’t share. Pack it up. Back to it. Add to it when you want. Sometimes, what you write on paper is for you and only you. Maybe one day you’ll send it in, maybe the work you’ve done will be found. It is important that you identify the starting point. We’ll put together some additional resources for you to support your efforts. (More on that in a bit.) In the meantime, know that what you offer is a choice.
Ian F. Blair
https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/image/story/2022-05-16/atrocities-dont-deserve-the-dignity-of-legend-they-require-a-more-responsible-form You deserve the space to process what’s happening. There’s power in documentation