I want to express my deep appreciation to Pedro for inviting me here today. Our discussions on photography and life over the last 13 years have encouraged experimentation and speculation. And Pedro’s and Trisha’s significant involvement and collaboration with the California Museum of Photography have brought us a series of extraordinary exhibitions.

On this ZoneZero’s tenth anniversary I heartily congratulate Pedro for a web site whose vision is treasured around the world.

Even before ZoneZero, Pedro explored in his own work the enormous potential of digital photography to change the way in which we think about and construct photographic images. Digital photography has allowed Pedro to redefine the decisive moment as the digital moment and move the document into the realm of magic realism.

ZoneZero’s 10th anniversary and fotoseptember bring together people from around the globe to celebrate photography. But such a celebration is I think curiously anachronistic. For with the advent of the computer, photography has ceased to be a separate discipline, indeed on some very significant level photographic practice as such has ceased to exist. Never before in history has a single machine, a single instrument, become the main tool for creative endeavor across disciplines.

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But the computer, rather than just providing a medium and a technology has signaled the seamless integration of all visual, audio, cinematic, and performative media. The computer does much more than integrate the data behind music and videos, photographs, and performance. Rather it has reaffirmed what in actually has always been the hallmark of the vanguard: the indivisibility of human expression, the seamless continuities of what we have come to think of as discrete media, and the unlimited potential for the intermingling and amalgamation of all creative disciplines.

Today I’d like to share with you five individuals we have recently shown at the California Museum of Photography whose artistic hallmark is this intermingling of disciplines. [When we first spoke about this symposium, Pedro asked me to speak about the architecture of photography, and as you will see I have taken him quite literally, because the photographers about whom I speak are at times perhaps more architect than photographer.] Their work is based on a world which they fabricate, rather than on the real world which lies before their camera. They all work with extensive stage sets rather than with the virtual world of the computer, but it is the concept of the virtual, the artificial, and the hybrid that animates their work.

I have chosen to tell you about them because, while their work at times may appear to be digitally derived or altered, none of them uses digital technology. Rather their work is made possible more by the conceptual basis than the technology of new media. Hypermedia provides the ideology and strategy for their practice. They all share a distrust of traditional photographic genres, a desire to reconstitute traditional narrative, and a sense of their work as an investigation into the nature and foundations of visual communication.



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