A different way of seeing: Scott Stark’s The Realist

It’s now over ten years since Scott Stark devised his ‘alternating-image’ technique; switching between left and right perceptions of stereo photographs to impose a persistent trembling on each otherwise still image.  At one and the same time, it comes across as emphatically modern – this is self-evidently the stuff of a new technological process – and a throw back to early crude attempts at movement, enlivening a stationary frame rather than capturing motion in front of the camera.  It creates an unresolvable tension – a persistent filmic anxiety – with the flickering images trapped in a non-space somewhere between reality and illusionism.


Stark finds a new home for his technique in ‘The Realist’, with the title being an oblique reference/homage to an early post war stereo camera carrying the same name but it comes, of course, loaded with multiple connotations.


He creates a deeply reflective pessimism, an apocalyptic hyperreality that takes consumerism to its end game but with a very different conception of its consequences to the usual Godardian self-destructive cannibalism.


This is a place where unborn shop front mannequins come alive – Zombies in reverse – serving as idealised mirror images of ourselves, reduced to the clothes that we desire.  They traverse shopping malls with heavy movements reminiscent of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, vibrating and quivering from one still to the next.


Pristine consumer products seduce us, as they might a passer-by.  Akin to a Jeff Koons artwork, their appeal rests on a perfection of the new, but it is one that the consumer is destined to destroy.


The desolation in Godard’s ‘Weekend’ did not preclude some kind of rebirth, a non-capitalist alternative rising like a phoenix from the ashes.  Stark’s world is one already dying, a soulless twilight zone where consciousness has drifted away, leaving us to stare at soulless reflections of ourselves in Lacan’s metaphorical mirror. essaydragon.com/

October 31st, 2013 - admin

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