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An exploration of notions of “the real” ignited by three photographs from the New Mothers-series by Rineke Dijkstra

Larsson, Maria Erika LU (2010) KOVM02 20101
Division of Art History and Visual Studies
Abstract
This thesis provides an analysis of three photographs from the New Mothers-series by Rineke Dijkstra, which serve as a point of entry for a discussion on how the maelstrom of visual expressions surrounding the contemporary subject is transforming his/her experience of what is real in relation to visual expressions. In the exploration, the concept of “the real” is examined in its construction and alternative understandings of the notion are considered. It is suggested that certain visual experiences, such as the photographs from the New Mothers-series, are able to function as exceptions to habitual ways of relating to images, and open up novel understandings of what is real.

The discussion begins with an empirical analysis of the three... (More)
This thesis provides an analysis of three photographs from the New Mothers-series by Rineke Dijkstra, which serve as a point of entry for a discussion on how the maelstrom of visual expressions surrounding the contemporary subject is transforming his/her experience of what is real in relation to visual expressions. In the exploration, the concept of “the real” is examined in its construction and alternative understandings of the notion are considered. It is suggested that certain visual experiences, such as the photographs from the New Mothers-series, are able to function as exceptions to habitual ways of relating to images, and open up novel understandings of what is real.

The discussion begins with an empirical analysis of the three photographs, which appear to give a rare glimpse of an otherwise un-represented reality. The discussion investigates what it means for the twenty-first century subject to say that an image represents reality by exploring theories that in different ways show how the notion of “the real” has been transformed throughout the past century and a half. The concept of “the real” is furthermore traced back to its historical origins and it is shown how it underlies a particular, in no way natural or self-evident, way of relating to visual representations. The discussion then returns to the meeting with Dijkstra's images in order to find out what it is, if not reality, that appears in the meeting with these photographs.

On one level, “the end of the real” can be understood as the end to a certain attitude towards the external world, which it is no longer possible to uphold as the experience of reality is increasingly fabricated through man made images and signs. At the same time, the notion of “the real” can be seen to run deep in the mind of the contemporary subject, and the move into the realm of the hyperreal can be recognized as the extension of a long lived habit of relating to the external world, which relies on representations and concepts rather than a more direct relationship with the sensuous environment. In opposition to this habit, the singularity of the images of the New Mothers appear as true exceptions, through which what was assumed to be real comes forth in its arbitrariness, and the un-represented aspects of the world are momentarily revealed. (Less)
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author
Larsson, Maria Erika LU
supervisor
organization
course
KOVM02 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
hyperreality, the real, Gilles Deleuze, reality, Rineke Dijkstra, New Mothers, the image world, mediation
language
English
id
1600980
date added to LUP
2010-05-31 17:01:38
date last changed
2010-05-31 17:01:38
@misc{1600980,
  abstract     = {This thesis provides an analysis of three photographs from the New Mothers-series by Rineke Dijkstra, which serve as a point of entry for a discussion on how the maelstrom of visual expressions surrounding the contemporary subject is transforming his/her experience of what is real in relation to visual expressions. In the exploration, the concept of “the real” is examined in its construction and alternative understandings of the notion are considered. It is suggested that certain visual experiences, such as the photographs from the New Mothers-series, are able to function as exceptions to habitual ways of relating to images, and open up novel understandings of what is real. 

The discussion begins with an empirical analysis of the three photographs, which appear to give a rare glimpse of an otherwise un-represented reality. The discussion investigates what it means for the twenty-first century subject to say that an image represents reality by exploring theories that in different ways show how the notion of “the real” has been transformed throughout the past century and a half. The concept of “the real” is furthermore traced back to its historical origins and it is shown how it underlies a particular, in no way natural or self-evident, way of relating to visual representations. The discussion then returns to the meeting with Dijkstra's images in order to find out what it is, if not reality, that appears in the meeting with these photographs.

On one level, “the end of the real” can be understood as the end to a certain attitude towards the external world, which it is no longer possible to uphold as the experience of reality is increasingly fabricated through man made images and signs. At the same time, the notion of “the real” can be seen to run deep in the mind of the contemporary subject, and the move into the realm of the hyperreal can be recognized as the extension of a long lived habit of relating to the external world, which relies on representations and concepts rather than a more direct relationship with the sensuous environment. In opposition to this habit, the singularity of the images of the New Mothers appear as true exceptions, through which what was assumed to be real comes forth in its arbitrariness, and the un-represented aspects of the world are momentarily revealed.},
  author       = {Larsson, Maria Erika},
  keyword      = {hyperreality,the real,Gilles Deleuze,reality,Rineke Dijkstra,New Mothers,the image world,mediation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {An exploration of notions of “the real” ignited by three photographs from the New Mothers-series by Rineke Dijkstra},
  year         = {2010},
}