photograph of the interior space of a portable camera obscura artwork at Ideasfest UVic

Sometimes I wonder if it is too much to draw together effect of pinholes in tents and the origins of humans; colonial photography and butterfly migrations; the ongoing and under recognized and spirituality, in order to think through more ethical practices around image making and to imagine a collective potential of affectual relations with images.

But then I give talks like that at the CSRS last week and I feel like I’m on the right track. The CSRS Fellows and general public engaged in enthusiastic conversation to tackle our magical relations with images, to describe the feelings of the what arises, of the luminous, the ‘too real image’: Together we worked through ways of imaging how we might share in a collective potential of recognizing the affect of images.

Here’s the abstract:

The inner life of a camera: The camera obscura and contemplative practice in a more than human world

In this artist talk I will ask, “what is recoverable in photography?” The work Portable Camera Obscura uses proto-photographic practice to bring people together to consider the ways we constitute and experience photography. I consider how embodying indeterminacy might help provide the possibility for new appearances such as the uncanny, the spectral, and transitions that aren’t picked up in the ubiquitous use of cameras. Rather than get caught in the association between photography and truth, stability, and arrival, how might photography cultivate an affinity for events on the move, as embodied, and as part of more than human lifeworlds? I will elaborate on this thinking by drawing on aspects of Buddhism that emerge from recent literature on the history of art (e.g. Kay Larson on John Cage) and aspects of Buddhist practice itself (e.g. Dharma art).

Thanks to Robert Davy for the image of the camera from the inside, taken during UVic’s Ideasfest

Talk at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Society (CSRS) at University of Victoria
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