The  work of sohpy Calle is difficult to get a hold of, at least the book concerning without buying it. But some videos and footage from her exhibition give a good impression of her intentions. More impact to me, in a self-reflecting manner, was the work of Sophy Ricktet. Amids my personal struggle and quest how to contribute in a world on the edge of destruction it sometimes feels, her introduction text is so meaningless, pointless, it declassifies her work to just images.

Objects in the Field was produced during an artist fellowship at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. It reflects upon the artist’s encounter with Dr Roderick Willstrop, a retired astronomer, and his archive of photographic negatives made in the 1980s, when Willstrop designed and built The Three Mirror Telescope camera in the grounds of the Institute.

Rickett appropriated a number of the now obsolete images, reprinting them by hand using the analogue process and altering them through her own subjective and aesthetic decisions.

The resulting works subvert the images’ original scientific purpose and at the same time act as a retrieval, or ‘rescue’ of the archive.(2014)

How does this non-issue fit when my mind is full of the massive problems we are facing today. Pandemic, lockdown, energy and environment, nationalism, racism, populism and then this navel-gazing to some older images, reformed by some undefined aesthetic decisions, about a scientist who himself thought other work was even more important than this telescope. Does this mean I’m evolving this fast? Would I felt the same six months ago about this work? Will the next months make me evolve even quicker? It probably is not about me or my thoughts, but nevertheless it’s an inseparable feeling, influencing my research and thinking during this task.

The work of Sophie Calle seems closer, more personal, more explicit. The narrative is truly a multiplied narrative, based upon a single letter, responded on by over a hundred women from a point of view influenced by their profession.

I asked 107 women (including two made from wood and one with feathers),
chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret this letter.
To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it.
Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me.
Answer for me.
It was a way of taking the time to break up.
A way of taking care of myself.

Sophie

Intimate reflection, accompanied by moving and still images, depending on the profession. The images form a direct reference to the textual response to the initial break-up letter, sent to Calle herself,  ending with the words:  Prenez soin de voux.

The 107 responses to the letter are not “coding” an image as such, the images, movies, proza and other responses are the “image”. Hence it is difficult to see this as relaying text-image relation. The initial letter is the starting point and initiated the relying function. It never generates any form of ambiguity, it just generates a diversity of personal interpretations. Diversity is no ambiguity. The responses are honest, direct, emotional. I’m not even sure, image and text are equals here. The images seem nothing more then a representation of the writer, the respondent, unambiguous as if the images are the anchor to the text.

 

In This is my proof by Duane Michals, the text is indeed enhancing the image and its ambiguity. It instantly makes you doubt who interpretations this image correctly, can I be wrong?  without this “simple” text, the image was almost meaningless or at least not as remarkable, impactful. It also prolonged the time looking at the image, thinking about the image, feeling its emotions, either of love for or lost love. Ongoing looking at his work, it becomes more a trick to Michals. In “This is my proof” the text indicates sincerity, that makes it interesting. Authenticity in feelings. As soon it shifts to a method of work, I lose my engagement. The handwritten text works well, indicating authenticity, but only limited, not always and not endlessly repeatedly on every image. Another example that worked well for me is “I dream the perfect day in New York City”(Michals, 2020). The handwritten text and the blurred image of a boy/man half-awake in bed, dreaming provide some form of personal recognition, although he forces here the direction of thought more than the ambiguity, the relay, in “This is my proof”.

 

 

 

Bibliography & Reference list

Cmoa.org. (2020). CMOA Collection. [online] Available at: https://collection.cmoa.org/objects/83a3b886-95ca-4456-8e68-946ebdaba2cc [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

Fisher, C. (2009). Sophie Calle: Take Care of Yourself. [online] The Brooklyn Rail. Available at: https://brooklynrail.org/2009/06/artseen/take-care-of-yourself [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

in (2014). Sophy Rickett. [online] Sophy Rickett. Available at: https://sophyrickett.com/objects-in-the-field-1 [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

Jankowicz, M. (2017). “Take Care of Yourself”: Sophie Calle’s French Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennial. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/@miajankowicz/take-care-of-yourself-sophie-calles-french-pavilion-at-the-2007-venice-biennial-a1a31f8df54a [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

Literary Devices. (2019). Auguries of Innocence Analysis – Literary devices and Poetic devices. [online] Available at: https://literarydevices.net/auguries-of-innocence/ [Accessed 22 Jun. 2020].

Michals, D. (2020). I Dream the Perfect Day in New York City. [online] Artnet.com. Available at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/duane-michals/i-dream-the-perfect-day-in-new-york-city-x5tFz3hiZgmG7t5xj_Ehaw2 [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

Slow-words.com. (2016). Take care of yourself | Slow Words. [online] Available at: https://www.slow-words.com/take-care-of-yourself/ [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].

Tate (2020). Sophie Calle – Dumped by Email | TateShotsYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9E4dA0EGaM [Accessed 17 Jun. 2020].