Living Photographs

2 Oct

[VIMEO 8721857]

Eros and Aphrodite from Adad Hannah on Vimeo.

I’m really drawn to the videos by Adad Hannah posted on Art21 recently. They look like photographs, except that the people posed in them are breathing, blinking, and rearranging their positions very slightly. In three of them, the models are interacting with, or recreating, well-known works of art. In the other two, I think the models are posed without referencing anything.

It feels like you’re watching something alive right in front of you, but the only possible thing that could be “living” is the image itself. It’s like the models are possessing the media, in the horror-film sense.

Hannah says in the Art21 post, “I don’t think viewers of my work are directed towards thinking so much about technology as they are led to think about mediation done through technology.” It may seem almost like the viewer has transcended the media and is “right there with” something alive in the physical world, but like in our favorite pulpy stories about demon possession, it’s not the same at all. Hannah’s work seems to be elevating a sense of mystery.

Art21 has a lot of interesting things to say about what Hannah is doing, and the other videos are also great.


One Response to “Living Photographs”

  1. shinpogo October 11, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    That’s mind boggling considering the fact that it’s still a video. However the artist could still make the argument–and a presentation–of every frame being a picture. Me personally–and maybe it’s the situation of the vid-pic–but I thought the movement was a little annoying. Anyone in the pre-kissing pose knows what comes next and we want to see it. If the piece is a photo, we respect that limitation of not seeing the kiss, however in a video we expect it to happen. I don’t know why I wanted the male subject to kiss the statue more than the girl but I was constantly on edge waiting for that kiss because of his movements.

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