Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Control

May 15, 2020 - Anabela Pinto

The hand remains highly symbolic as a tool on its own and as the operative force of handling and grasping of objects. It’s a controlling mechanism.
In the domestic world, most interactions between people and technical objects see the hand as the sole mediator in which simple, easy, and small gestures (like pushing buttons) are the starting point of a technical ‘conversation’ or performance of sorts. Jean Baudrillard calls this the gestural system of control, and argues that there’s a necessity of this human input so that the power of man over machine is reiterated, and that man is reassured of the importance of his participation. This necessity of a gesture of control is not so much to make the system work technically he says, but rather to make it work psychologically.

 

This makes me think of the power dynamics between people and objects, the collective fear of losing control to certain mechanisms and technologies, and the inevitability of arriving at some sort of conflict of interest. On one side, there’s a desire for functionality, practicality, a highly efficient (and entertaining) living experience that technological objects are so keen to deliver. On the other side, this is often incompatible to the more romantic idea of pure and meaningful “real” human connection, as if the essence of technics roams through life like an uninvited guest, trespassing and bringing unwelcome change.