Christina Battle : The people in this picture are standing on all that remained of a handsome residence
September 10th – October 10th 2015
Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal presents, in partnership with Le Centre des arts actuels Skol, The people in this picture are standing on all that remained of a handsome residence by Christina Battle.
For its 14th edition Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal explores The Post-Photographic Condition, a theme conceived by Catalan guest curator, Joan Fontcuberta. The post-photographic era is characterized by the massification of images and by their circulation and availability online. Digital technology not only provokes ontological fractures in photography, but also engenders profound changes in its social and functional values. Deployed in 16 exhibition sites, the biennial will feature the works of 29 Canadian and international artists who critically react to this massive presence of images and their unlimited access in our current visual culture.
Jean-Luc Nancy states that since Fukushima, the natural disasters of the past have been replaced by a single ongoing civilizational catastrophe. Nowadays, disasters are immediately made into spectacles through media coverage. How, then, can we describe traumatic events without veering into sensationalism? How do we provide information without succumbing to morbid curiosity? Christina Battle has oriented her work toward subjects such as history and counter-memory, political mythology, and the iconography of catastrophes. Her video installation The people in this picture are standing on all that remained of a handsome residence (2014) evokes Black Friday in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 31, 1987, when a devastating tornado killed dozens of people and destroyed many homes. Battle downloaded eyewitness photos of the Edmonton disaster and videos of tornadoes published by news outlets on the Internet. She then altered the codes of the images to produce random crashes or glitches and “collapsed” the results into video files, once again corrupting elements in the codes to force simultaneous reproduction (datamoshing). “Mute” images consequently become “eloquent,” while fragmentation and repetitive abstraction de-spectacularize the drama. Impervious to the temptations of “disaster porn,” Battle suggests that every catastrophe sheds a certain amount of light.
Photos: Guy L’Heureux