Different Dimension

"Being There" by Sheu Jer-Yu, Taiwan

"Photographic images are symbols that are vague and full of pretence.
They don't necessarily represent reality itself, and for that reason,
photography is able to produce images that transcend reality
or what can be objectively observed" Roland Barthes
In the Being There series, I used a projector to project the objective dictionary definition of an object
onto part of the object itself. My original aim was to let the "objective" definition of an object
"suspend" in the works, a concept that is often discussed in phenomenology. The definition
could serve as an anchor point for the viewer to compare with the image of the object itself.
After taking the photographs, I've discovered that a new dialectic has been created between
the words and the images, and that a new "meaning" has thus appeared. This new meaning
results from the unavoidable struggle between the restrictive nature of the definitions and the
contingent nature of the images. This interpretative struggle, however, occurs in the consciousness
of the viewer, and is outside the control of the artist who created the work. In the consciousness of the
viewer, do the words in the definition replace the image, or do the words actually become the image?
This contradictio! n blurs the original role of the words in the image-to represent reality,
knowledge, and preconceptions-and also blurs the boundary between the words and image.

To take this point further, the words represent the photographer's desire to use "viewing" or
"describing" to express his or her views. When the shutter of the camera is pressed, the words
in the image create an anchor point, and an interpretation of the object that the photographer
believes is "objective' is created (compared to the normal situation, when the photographer
uses images to portray a "subjective" view of an object). But after the shutter is released,
the image and the words exist together on the same plane, and the work of finding objectivity
is transferred to the viewer of the work, who must create a new imaginary space, one that
exists between symbolic meaning and reality. The definitions are authoritative, but the
images are not the standard encyclopedic versions of the objects. To look at it from another
angle, can the definitions of objects truly capture the essence of any object, even if it is the
standard version often found in encyclopedias? To just wha! t extent can the authority
of words and images blur reality?