Monday, 1 March 2010

The liquidity of things

The liquidity of things could be a metaphor for the flow of life unfolding around you, your perception of it as you move from one occurrence to the next, noticing everything, being immersed in the most insignificant details.  In a discussion about his films, Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco - painter, photographer, film-maker, sculptor - refers to:

"...the liquidity of things, how one thing leads you on to the next.  The films take place in very ordinary urban settings.  I'm not concerned with spectacular events or frantic rhythms.  The works are about concentration, intention and paths of thought:  the flow of totality in our perception, the fragmentation of the 'river of phenomena', which takes place all the time."

In this 'river of phenomena' he makes connections between these fragmented instances, a kind of contiguity, moving from one thing to another.  The 'being next to eachother' is important, things being related 'through proximity rather than narrative'.  This is something which I am becoming more and more aware of - I walk down the street and see something quite mundane, and moments after, something else will catch my eye which just seems to follow on from the first thing, like this..... (if you are of a sensitive disposition, look away now!)

Orozco maintains that his work is not so much the result of chance or lack of control, but more due to 'tracing certain intentions with the camera.'  This is a mode of working which I can relate to, but for me it is more or less unconscious.  Although I am allowing chance to dictate my whereabouts and relinquishing a certain amount of control, what I choose to photograph is very much under my direction.  Perhaps subconsciously my choice of subject matter is influenced by what I see during the day, but I don't set out with defined intentions.  I let the camera have its head and see where it takes me.

He likens his narrative to 'a series of punctums' or focal points of attention, the result of  'a day of awareness'.  That is precisely how I would define my modus operandi.  I can think of no better way of spending a day, being inspired by what is going on around me, following my intuition.  And so another 'day of awareness' beckons tomorrow.....  


  1. I love the metaphors "Liquidity of things" - "flow of life"- "river of phenomena" -yes, in a city like London or Berlin... I have the feel to be a little stick in the midth of all, driven through the water masses of people, driven by the impressions around me ... (I could hint to an expressinistic poem by Oskar Loercke, Blauer Abend in Berlin- the water metaphor dominates the whole sonnet; sorry, no English translation)- I had to smile while looking at your pics: the feet- Venus & Big foot (nana!), the chicken ( I have no problems to look at them, sorry, I would rather say the chicken might look a bit more bloody- realistic!)- I can well imagine your "opus operandi", and I'm sure that you are fishing a lot of things in the river by your eyes-nets and your (wo)man-traps (Fuß-Angel) when you are considering all your pic-treasures later in the evening...! Maybe, I were more attracted by the human beings, but I know it is a problem to photograph them!

  2. Thanks for your incisive comments Philine. I agree the watery metaphors suit the description of city life very well. I looked up the Oskar Loercke poem but my German is not good enough to understand it all, though I did get the gist of it, especially the last verse. If you want more human beings, there are plenty on my next post - a positive surfeit of them!