Random Interference explores the afterlife of images and the experience of looking at photographs as a disruptive encounter. The installation at PHOTOVILLE will include a time-based projection as well as approximately 5,000 front-page sections of The New York Times saved since March 1999 when NATO bombed Belgrade during the Kosovo war. Projected floor to ceiling on the back wall of the container will be the piece Random Interference, a continuous loop with the top and bottom halves of the images fading in and out in a random order creating different image permutations. The juxtaposition of the ephemeral projection and the physical newspapers are a timely exploration of contemporary methods of reception and transmission of both personal and institutional forms of memory.
Artist Statement: Using different technologies of representation, I recontextualize, recycle, and reuse media imagery, historical photographs, family snapshots (my own and those of others), self-portraits, travel photographs, and audio recordings. I explore memory and transmission, how to visualize absence, and the socio-political meanings of photographs. I question how photographs affect how we know what we know, how personal remembrances and cultural recall intersect, and how photographs influence storytelling and history. These issues have been at the core of my photographs, installations, and web work since the late 1980s. In my constructed photographs and installations, I use scanned newspaper and magazine images. I grab other photos from the Internet. Folders in file cabinets and folders in my computer contain hundreds of images. The images play like filmstrips in my mind. In the late 1990s, I was clipping more photographs from the newspapers than usual. As it became clear in March 1999 that NATO was going to bomb Serbia, I decided to save the front section of The New York Times once the bombing started. My idea was to have a stack of newspapers that signified a war. When the cease-fire was signed, a true resolution had not been reached, so I kept collecting. The World Trade Center was attacked, and I kept collecting. I have not stopped.
Currently in my studio, there is a large mound of newspapers containing close to 5,000 sections of newspapers. I created this pile as a way to envision the weight of archival history. Photographs of atrocity are everywhere. Images get under my skin. It is hard to look and hard to look away. In making artworks that use and reference this media landscape, I want to cause a rupture in our expectations and speak to our difficult, confusing, and dangerous times where media and photography have both lost and gained credibility. I am both image-maker and consumer.
Lorie Novak is an artist and Professor of Photography & Imaging at NYU Tisch School of Arts. She is the co-curator with Deborah Willis of the exhibition cit.i.zen.ship: reflections on rights,part of the For Freedoms 50 state initiative, on view at Photoville and Tisch School of the Arts. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally, and she is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in Photography. She is also Director and Founder of Future Imagemakers, a social practice project at NYU Photography & Imaging, offering free digital photography classes to NYC area high school students. Novak’s installation Random Interference was exhibited at the first Photoville in 2012.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
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