Towards a Philosophy of Photography
Black Box of Racism,
Archival Inkjet Print, 14x21”,
This work juxtaposes Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square” (a seminal painting in the history of abstraction, tainted with a recently-discovered racist joke on the back of the painting) with a Google search of “Google’s gorilla problem” (algorithms in Google’s image search were classifying black people as gorillas. The company ‘fixed’ the problem by blocking the algorithm from classifying anything as ‘gorilla’).
“It is precisely the obscurity of the box which motivates photographers to take photographs. They lose themselves, it is true, inside the camera in search of possibilities, but they can nevertheless control the box. For they know how to feed the camera (they know the input of the box), and likewise they know how to get it to spit out the photographs (they know the output of the box). Therefore the camera does what the photographer wants it to do, even though the photographer does not know what is going on inside the camera. This is precisely what is characteristic of the functioning of apparatuses: The functionary controls the apparatus thanks to control of its exterior (the input and output) and is controlled by it thanks to the impenetrability of its interior. To put it another way: Functionaries control a game over which they have no competence. The world of Kafka, in fact.” p.27-28