Like Baer, Lori Nix’s work is made possible by the vocabulary and manipulative possibilities, but not the technology, of new media. As all you who have followed the LA Times firing of its war photographer in Iraq last year for the slight digital manipulation of a photograph understand, there continues today to be a high tension between the photo as reality and the photo as artifact. Lori Nix intentionally subverts our traditional notion of photographic visual reality by allowing the semi-realistic world of the toy train-set to move beyond children’s play and incorporate foreboding and tragedy. In her simulated landscapes the table top becomes the hyperspace of imagination. Here, as in all compelling storytelling, the factuality of the real is supplanted by the iconography of myth.

Nix’s work includes a survey of Midwestern phenomena and natural disasters: tornadoes, floods, snowstorm, insect infestations and even a two-headed dog. Her work features ambiguous undefined scenes of suspense: empty park hillsides, bikes abandoned near barren forests, thick cattails on the edge of a deserted marsh. Nix’s tableau views are not those of a distantiated documentarian but rather examinations of our willing suspension of disbelief and an inquiry into the visual clues through which we read the world as “real.” By constructing three-dimensional miniature dioramas rather than shooting natural scenes, her table-top landscapes explore photography’s incongruous and inexplicable tie to a world beyond the actual: to the allegorical, the fantastic and the surreal. Pursuing Hypermedia’s most radical potential, Nix’s work rejects what is seen as an official, uniform photographic process.


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