I/Eye: On Photography

De Oorlogen: Searching for the Wars

Posted in Other Photographers by Sheila Newbery on December 21, 2010

I’m not an unconditional admirer of photography. In my view, photography isn’t sacred, but rather unavoidable and unfathomable. It is and remains a form of magic. There are people who see a poem in a photograph, some see a document, and still others see simply art. Still, photography is none of these. It is what it misses in order to be something else. Photography is that lack itself. —Oscar van Alphen

A film portrait of Dutch photographer Oscar van Alphen focusing on the reconstruction of his 1984-85 installation De Oorlogen (The Wars) can be seen online at the Dutch multimedia arts non-profit Paradox. About the reconstruction, the Paradox directors write: “The Wars is a restored version of the projection that was part of the 1984-1985 installation De Oorlogen. Combining still and moving images, set to a voice-over, it was originally projected (using 6 slide projectors and a 16mm film projector) in a space also displaying photographic prints. The 2006 restoration has digitally scanned and re-mastered the visuals, and created an English language version of the original Dutch soundtrack to create a single screen version of the piece.” The text van Alphen used as the substance of the voice-over was an adaptation of Georges Bataille’s pseudonymously published Madame Edwarda (1941).

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