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.
The Storyteller
Evidence n.3

On historiography

Apr 27, 2020 - Giulia Parlato

“antiquity is not ‘a pure object of time’ returning in its unaltered state when revoked: it is a considerable movement of the subsoil, a dull vibration, an harmonic passing through the whole layers of history and levels of culture”. Georges Didi-Huberman, The Surviving Image: Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms


The past, as we know it, is undoubtedly the result of a careful selection of events to remember and physical objects to preserve, discarding the rest in a dark limbo of knowledge where everything will at some point be forgotten. Thus, I perceive history as filtered and I must go beyond the rules of perpetuation in favour of a new history, or more appropriately, a suppressed history of traditions and images. On the one hand we tend to cling to a preserved imaginary past, on the other we wish for more, perhaps something speaking more directly to us, something that exists apart from systematical thinking and which has a lot to do with different forms of primitivism, human expression and free association. In dealing with past events, it is necessary to point out historiography’s narrative limits, and conversely, time as a dynamic force pointing in countless directions. Since historiography means tracing the past, it is important to point out that history is therefore a collection of documents and evidence carefully put together through different narrative devices. Historiography is a spoken museum of the past, a mental space tidied up, with different corridors and sections, where every world is on display like ancient utensils in vitrines. Those traces left behind, which are used to connect the ‘dots’, have nothing to do with an authentic truth. Thus, the memory’s wish to preserve the past is condemned to remain unfulfilled.

 

I use photography to challenge the medium’s historical use as a document of truth, specifically in its scientific and forensic uses, by creating a new space in which fake histories take place.