The fourth wall

Diego Ballestrasse

2015 - Ongoing

Argentina

The fourth wall responds to the desire to explore the physical dimension of the photographic object to find some answers regarding the functioning of the family photographs as psychological territory: how do photographs mediate our family relationships? How do they intervene in our links in our understanding of family ties? Heeding to the mediation operated by the camera, the process has consisted of penetrate the image, immersing into it, to discover from there the opening to spaces reflection regarding both the family scope (in the gestaltic and relational senses) and the multiples temporalities of the image. In this sense, it points to another way of understanding the photographic event that goes beyond the shooting of the photographer (in the ontological sense suggested by Ariella Azoulay).

To photograph placing the camera "inside" the images, responds to the interest of altering the established order’s hierarchy regarding what supposedly gives it sense, and it also raises the possibility of attending to the blind spots of photography, that which usually escapes the gaze. To refine our gaze towards the seemingly secondary information produced by a picture, significantly dilutes the barrier which keeps us as external viewers.

If capturing has been considered for a long time as the essence of photography, the attention to archive has contributed to a new ontology of photography as a relational platform which doesn’t express the intentions of a solo participant. From this perspective, the reflection proposed by this project overtakes the family context and aims to a new comprehension of the photographic event, which surpasses the mere photographer’s capturing. It is in this sense that the fourth wall sets to overcome the understanding of the photographic act as a fait accompli.

In parallel, the anachronism that articulates this project is a way to visualize the multiple temporalities that every image carries, and the potential to upgrade the past, to invoke it and at the same time, reshape it in the present of who observes the image. In this way, the process I have engaged in reframing certain details of the image, has turned out to be a way of getting involved, of feeling part of my family history, rediscovering the imaginary potential within the photographic medium.

The fourth wall incites us to relate to the image in all its phenomenological dimension. This work is on affections and the mechanisms that raise subjectivity in photography, from which it invites the viewer to take a more participant and active role. Therefore, this project allows us to reflect about to what extent it is possible to expand the way we relate to the family album and, by extension, any image with which we are linked to.

Besides Azoulay, this project draws upon several sources, some of which can be highlighted as: Gilles Deleuze for his reflections revolving the image and multiple times, Jorge Luis Borges and his conjectures about time as unknowable phenomenon and protean reality, Michelangelo Antonioni in what concerns the peripheral gaze and Alejandro Jodorowsky in respect of his theories regarding family system’s healing.

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