three dimensional photograph


Christiane Freser

‘Consider the Sphere’ (a selection) at Von Lintel Gallery, Los Angeles till june 2017

“…Christiane Feser (b. 1977) is known for her ongoing series of photo objects — three-dimensional, photographic sculptures that behave like representational and optical experiments; simultaneously exploring the perceptions of a camera and a person. Her constructions begin as assemblages of simple materials — clay spheres, paper shapes or sewing pins — that are lit and photographed. The image is printed and then cut-open, folded, punctured or otherwise added to; transforming the flat print back into a dimensional object with its own sense of time and space….”

Andy Worhol, ‘Brillo Box (Soap Pads)’, 1964

“Warhol’s boxes were life-like illusions and fundamentally different from Duchamp’s ready-mades for two important reasons. Firstly these trompe-l’oeil boxes were handmade wood constructions with silkscreen ink and house paint as opposed to the ‘originals’ whose labels were made with offset lithography on cardboard, and secondly, “…they were empty inside, filled with nothing but air, as hollow as the rhetoric so boldly emblazoned upon them.” 

Danto argues that Warhol’s Brillo Boxes of 1964 were literally three dimensional photographs of the products—an extension of what Andy had done with the Soup Cans— stacked in columns just as if they were for sale. Perceived and exhibited, the “Brillo Box” became, in Danto’s eyes, the first “post-historical work” that demands something other than eyes. Danto’s question was no longer “What is art?” but rather “Given two indiscernible objects, one a work of art and the other not, wherein are they different?” The reference is, of course, to his grocery boxes as against their counterparts in the real world. Warhol’s boxes are silkscreen photographs of the latter, in three dimensions, and for all intensive purposes perfect copies of the originals. Danto declares we have reached “the end of art”, at the time when the line between art objects and ordinary objects are invisible.” - Freize Magazine, Living in Worhol’s World by Arthur C Danto

mannequins can’t cry

after room

shiny painted wax
full of empty
   the lie of
a three
         for life

still figures
still figure
of fooling us
but not me

    i need life
and animation…
mannequins can’t cry
the way i do

I just got back from my first foray into Magopolis. The city is quite surreal, I’ve never seen anything like it. The magical devastation has twisted reality itself. Things are out of place or seem to disobey the laws of physics, like a floor that’s a wall with furniture still in place, windows that lead into nothingness even though it seems like there’s something there. Objects have melted together into unnatural combinations, or been copied many times over. Not even Discord would create something this bizarre.

On the whole, the place is eerie, a ghost town ravaged by magic. It even has ghosts of a sort. There are ethereal unicorns moving about, vague and blurry. They’re not actually ghosts though, but imprints left behind by the magic of the unicorns who once lived here, like a moving three-dimensional out of focus photograph. Once you realize that, they’re not at all scary, in fact it’s fascinating to see them replay scenes that took place hundreds of years ago.

It’s been very hard to get around, as you can rarely take anything for granted. Gravity shifts around, or you walk through an archway and suddenly you’re in a completely different place. It’s obvious there is a lot of space-time distortion going on. At least I’ve been shielded from most of the wild magic effects due to my anti-magic protection spell. Without it, I think I would be at risk of things much worse than disorientation.

As an example of what could happen, I had brought a device which takes readings of magical fields. It’s essentially a box with three cords; each cord has a focal point on the end, and you place the sensors in a triangle shape (perfectly equilateral, of course, it’s strictly speaking not required, but it irks me otherwise) to take reading of the area inside. I set it up, and went to explore while it gathered readings. When I came back, one of the cords had turned into a vine, one ended up weaving itself into a basket, and the third had just curled up like a hair exposed to heat. The box itself had sprouted wings and was trying to awkwardly fly away. Guess I need a new tricorder. Thanks, Loreson.

The decay and magical disruptions notwithstanding, I have managed to gather information about the city itself. Apparently the goal was to create a city in which to expand the understanding of the field of magic as well as create a self-sustaining unicorn society, which wouldn’t need pegasi or earth ponies. They also tried to develop spells to create artificial stars, in order to not even be reliant on having to move the sun (at least as far as I could gather, the documents were badly scorched).

In the texts here, Magopolis is referred to as a grand city, but while it had the architecture of one, with smooth buildings of stone and perfectly paved streets, the size was more like that of a village. It could be that the intent was to expand once they had managed to create a stable and self-sustaining society.

Then again, it could also be that the unicorns sought power for the sake of power and had no interest in making room for others, but you’d think that the best and brightest would have more wisdom and realize that power isn’t very useful unless you can harness it to make things better for everypony else. Or at least other unicorns, since they weren’t on good terms with the other tribes.

Regardless, at least I am here now, and I intend to use any knowledge I find to further all of ponykind. I’ve already managed to salvage a number of ancient spell books which hadn’t melted into a table or such, and even a few that had (with some precise beam cutting). I’m placing them in magical quarantine for now and will make sure they are sanitized and restored when I get home.

I’ve also encountered several notes indicating that ponies were working on something called the Arcane Nexus at the time of the accident. I don’t know what it is or whether this was the cause of the devastation, but judging by the amount of enthusiasm and superlatives in the notes, it was something ground-breaking. It warrants further research.

On the whole, there’s certainly a lot to learn here, and not just about magic. The whole place is a part of history. Perhaps once cleaned up, this place could become a museum of sorts, a cautionary tale of what can happen when ponies refuse to work together. It’s just a shame that dispelling the residual magic will also remove all the imprints left. Seeing those ethereal ponies go about their business as if the place was still populated would be quite educational.

Well, I should get back to exploring. There was some sort of shimmering surface I want to take a closer look at. I just figured I’d stop by and drop off all the books I found first, and to send this letter. I’ll just have to wake up Spike, as he is asleep and I don’t wish to risk using my long range teleportation spell without proper testing unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I will write again soon! I’m sure there will be many discoveries to mention!