Photography as a strategy for transformation of urban architecture

Text by Felipe Raizer*

According to the Czech philosopher Vilém Flusser in The Philosophy of the Black Box photographs are not objective documents about the world but yet visual surfaces that express codified concepts. The device that produces them is programmed to interpret the world according to a certain potentiality. The photographer in this perspective is an employee of the apparatus and acts as a function of exhausting its potentialities. This explains why our society produces so many similar images as the selfie or the travel photographs produced with the same composition and angle of the monuments and the cities.

According to Flusser, it is necessary to perceive the photograph as a visual, ideological discourse, which must go through reflection, analysis and interpretation so that we get rid of the condition of employees programmed by these devices.

The digitization of photography, already consolidated since 1990, when the production of images is even more mass-produced, but that, on the other hand, allows its producers to seek new plastic and narrative potentials by inserting information in their creation process that are not specific of this field, such as practices, postures and transgressive interferences that result in hybrid horizons with other means of expression.

In the direction of using photography as a strategy for new looks on urban space, I have sought to act by connecting different spaces from a process of creation that is characterized by a “Let yourself be lost in the city” inspired by the “drift”, an approach proposed by Guy Debord, and by the urban proposal of Constant Nieuwenhuys, both belonging to the Situationist International Movement of the years 1950-1960.

During long walks I try to make images of places, streets and buildings that don’t get the interest of the “common eyes” or that pass unnoticed by the markers of urban information, to thus start a series of operations of transforming creation. I resort to techniques and software to transform the city towards abstraction, to achieve a poetic of the visual of this space.

The result of this process often does not resemble the urban objects photographed, what I present are new spaces ,often surreal spaces, that talk about the city as a universe of possibilities, a virtual image of what I choose to shoot.


* Brazilian visual arts, working on his PhD in Fine Arts at the Fine Arts Faculty of Lisbon University. His images try to achieve a multiplicity of visualization and perception forms through the engagement between photography and other media such as installation, sculpture and design. The artist has his main poetic protagonist the urban environment, the mutating and signifying space he refers to as an interface of contemporary human life.

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