the EMPIRE series, 2003
This series explores the `time resistance’ of three media: photography, painting and television. The immediate subject of the series is the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March/April 2003. The images are photographs taken of BBC broadcasts during the war. The inclusion of the TV screen, as well as the BBC logo, remind the viewer that she is watching a (historical) event indirectly. This is very much what the Canadian writer Michael Ignatieff referred to during the earlier (first) gulf war as the TV or `virtual war’. The viewer often has access to events in real time, although in an often sanitised and always virtual form.
By the use of digital filters the images have been altered so as to appear like paintings. They have `virtual’ paint strokes, and are printed on canvas. They are in effect photographs of TV images masquerading as counterfeit paintings. As such they point to photography’s intermediate and mediating role between the ephemeral character of television images and the eternal aspect of history painting.