Reduction(video work, 29:04 min.)
by Jan-Pieter 't Hart
In the film Solaris, Andrej Tarkovski hovers his camera over a famous painting by Bruegel. We can see the painting, which depicts a scene in which hunters return from their endeavors in a snowy landscape, from scene to scene. We see a close-up of dead plants in the snow, a group of hounds standing next to it. We levitate into the distance; people ice-skating on a frozen lake; a small village right behind it; a bird in the sky; a bird sitting on a bare branch. Images fading into each other. All the while, an eerie soundscape is playing in the background. Tarkovski adds layers of meaning, by boldly zooming in, by adding sound, and by integrating this piece into his own narrative.
One month ago, I walked through the city of Sarajevo. I made photographs. Now I’m back in my studio space. White walls, bright fluorescent light. I look back at the photographs I made, I try to analyse them, and I don’t know what to do with them. Going back to the mental place I was while pressing the shutter, all my reasons for aiming my camera at a certain direction feel banal, trivial. In a place where everything is so directly and unabashedly political, my being there feels out of place and uncomfortable.
What attracted me to this place in the first place, the complexity, the - dare I say - rawness, now only feels like a burden. Art has the tendency to romanticize every subject which falls prey to it, and I have the feeling that this is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing, and don’t want to do.
So there I am. White walls and fluorescent light. While browsing through my photographs, I notice my tendency to zoom in
on everything, to eliminate the context, so the disinterested surface of the digital image remains. To reduce the grandness of the modernist multi-story buildings to mere textures. To neutralize it all. The more I zoom in, the faster the surface seem to move. The cursor becomes a random element in the composition I once carefully constructed. This cursor is much like me, walking through the city; random, out of place.
Jan-Pieter ‘t Hart (1995, NL), is a photography student based in Amsterdam