In my video project, Tourist, my Apple iPhone is held in place by a laboratory clamp as my finger flips quickly past more than 700 photos, which I snapped in Ottawa over the course of the autumn and winter of 2008. Each image is visible only for a moment before being supplanted by the next.
The low-res cell-phone camera, with its portability and practically unlimited memory, is today’s attempt at remembering everything. It is as such, however, a weak attempt, as the obsessive generation of images is accompanied by a consequent de-generation of meaning.
Roland Barthes observed how people in Western society have difficulty understanding events of the past as real without their having been “verified” in photographs. In my video, Barthes’ concept is temporalized, and three months of my life are simultaneously verified and trivialized—blown away—in the space of minutes.
© 2008 by Edwin Janzen. All rights reserved.