Granular Realism

Ontology And Counter-Dominant Practices of Spatial Photography

PhD Research Goldsmiths, University of London 2015 – 2019. Supervision: Eyal Weizman, susan schuppli

Examiners: Haim Yaacobi, Mariam Ghani (2019)

New forms of computational 3D imaging have given rise to a new photographic condi-tion—one in which the fl at image is replaced by an omni-directional spatial data constella-tion, and in which viewing is defi ned by immersive navigation. The ‘spatial photograph’, as I term it, does not fl atten reality onto a chemical grain emulsion surface or a plane of discrete pixels, rather, in this highly computational environment, physical surface is transcoded onto a mirrored digital terrain of spatially distributed, discrete coordinate points.
‘Spatial Photography’ comes to contest both the ocular perspectival gaze of monarchic land ownership and control as well as the Cartesian fl at abstraction of the map with its view from nowhere (or from a satellite). Fusing survey and perspectival imaging, optical media has gradually technologically developed to incorporate a multiplicity of images and sources, that are both perspectival and projective, communal, situated and multiple. While primarily developed by states, military and industry, permeating and restructuring them from the inside, it simultaneously opens new spaces for civic-led counter practices.
Situated predominantly within the geo-political context of Israel, my homeland, I fol-low the changing role of the photographic as it is implicated within the larger ethno-po-litical confl ict, manifesting through a spatial entanglement of volume, control, opacity and vision.
Constructed in an intertwined manner between a research project and an artists prac-tice, through two dedicated projects, one in East Jerusalem (Silwan and City of David), the other in the Naqab Desert (Unrecognised Bedouin village of al-Araqib), this thesis off ers a counter-dominant spatial photographic practice, reframed within new epistemol-ogy. ‘Spatial Photography’ is not simply a changed mode of mechanical production but rather, a vehicle for the creation of relation between diff erent people and machinic sys-tems, taking, analysing and producing spaces, that together add up to a socio-techno-po-litical community of practice.