Text by Lily Fürstenow-Khositashvili
Photography is the result of the dialogue between the author and the camera as media theorist Vilém Flusser put it. Images are projections that in our age of digital revolution turn each of us into obervers and simultaneously authors of images that we can create by tipping computer keybords and buttons operating respective softwares. In his cycle of photographs entitled “When the Earth Seems to Be Light” after the documentary with the same name that won the best documentary film award at the Film Festival in Amsterdam earlier in 2015 photographer David Meskhi analyses the digital nature of image projections.
The documentary, initially based on the photographs by Meskhi of skateboarders in picturesque urban land and seascapes is about movement and the ability to project it in photography and on film screen. Later when the film was ready he rephotographed the moving images from the cinema screen. What we see in this cycle are the photographic snapshots capturing free movement turned into moving images turned into screenshots of the moving images of scateborders. The result are reflections of light spots, camera lense reflections merged with the rectangular outlines of the screens, doubling images and multiplying repetitive projections frozen in front of the spectators as separate film stills. The figures, city views and seascapes are blurred, pixelled, they are everything but precise and show overlapping surfaces of projections and double screens.
In our age when contemporary technologies advertise themselves with the ability to reproduce reality as true as possible with images rendered as sharp as ever the attitude chosen by the artist is utterly subversive putting into question the abilities of the digital technologies. By reducing the forms and figures into blurred spots scattered across the surfaces he reveals the nature of the image consisting of separate colour pixels, innumerable colour dots and particles that the cinematographic and photo projections are made of.
The cinematographic motion akin to the universal motion is brought here to a standstill in snapshots. The repetitive character of the skateborders movements is emphasised by repetitive imagery and the
snapshots out of focus that simultaneously irritate the viewer and intensify movement dynamics.
The camera captures a particular city, a flickering moment in life, and a specific time in history viewed through the eyes of youth who drift, almost invisibly, through a landscape of crumbling architecture and political protest. The subversivity of the youth is conveyed through the formal language of the photographer portraying his protagonists. His snapshots are made against the conventions of traditional image representation, as if the artist works “against the apparatus” critising it and testing the limits of the new media possibilities.
“WHEN THE EARTH SEEMS TO BE LIGHT” is the winner of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2015/ IDFA Award for Best First Appearance. It is a cinematic documentary by Salome Machaidze, Tamuna Karumidze and David Meskhi produced by Zaza Rusadze. The Berlin premiere of the film will take place in Kino Babylon on Friday January 13, 2017. The film focuses on the modern youth, being lost searching for non-existing spots of freedom in a post-Soviet Georgia. The cycle of photos by David Meskhi, having the same title were exhibited at the Tea Nili Art Space in Tbilisi earlier in 2016.
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