This article examines materiality as a surface condition and as inscribed in the texture of photographic and filmic images. First, it discusses examples where surface textures become striking due to various, frequently combined factors, such as image transfer, enlargement, the exigencies of the machinery involved and the properties of the film stock. Here, image resolution is the main focus. Second, it deals with the case of camera-less photography and film, where apparent surfaces are caused by directly acting upon the photo paper or the film stock. The third part offers close-readings of three exemplary artworks to be apprehended as poignant and exciting examples of how a photograph’s or film’s materiality determines its meaning, how textuality and texturality match. These readings include Steven Pippin’s series of photographs Laundromat-Locomotion (1997), Alison Rossiter’s works with expired silver gelatine photo papers (2007-ongoing) and David Gatten’s film Secret History of the Dividing Line (2002). Finally, in my concluding remarks, I will briefly address the critical potential of textures that foreground their materiality.
Keywords: texture, texturality, surface, photography, film, low resolution, art, materiality
Full text: OAJ_issue7_Jutz_01 (PDF 4.5 MB)
Gabriele Jutz is full professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria. Her current research interests include the history, theory and aesthetics of experimental cinema and film sound as well as media obsolescence and media archaeology. At present she is also participating in an international research project entitled Reset the Apparatus! A Survey of the Photographic and the Filmic in Contemporary Art (project leader: Edgar Lissel), which deals with so-called ‘obsolete’ media technologies in contemporary art (http://www. resettheapparatus.net). Her most recent book Cinéma brut: Eine alternative Genealogie der Filmavantgarde (Springer 2010) discusses films that reject the usual tools of filmmaking, such as films made without the use of a camera, found-footage-films, and expanded cinema performances.