street view Barcelona 2014
The more images that exist, the more difficult it becomes to discern the world and reality. Although this statement sounds paradoxical, it is based on a perfidious visual logic. Reality has become an image which we constantly produce as the point of departure for our experiences. Pictures distort, permeate, and replace real experiences, or imbue them with a new quality. Google Street View presents perspectives which are derived from a persistent and undifferentiated recording of topographies. These visual worlds are neither cartography nor photography. The precise and reduced degree of abstraction typical of a map is lost in the excess of visual information, just as the aesthetic and technical differentiation of reality through photography disintegrates into the digital zero-sum game of an endless succession of individual images.
In her current work "street view" (2014), Nicola Meitzner focuses on individual sites in Barcelona and presents them in two versions: as an Internet-based image from Google Street View, and as a picture taken by the artist herself. The images are only indirectly connected with each other, because the photographs differ in their respective times of origin and points of view. To some extent, it is possible to identify specific details such as facades, entrance areas, tree populations, or streets lined with houses. This visual comparison, however, is nothing more than a formal act which clearly reveals how little the viewers know about the sites and the city. For even when brought into relation to their respective urban points of departure, the fragments do not give rise to a narrative, nor do they offer much information about the presented architecture or the urban structure, about the city and its identity. This is true for both visual worlds―for the topography scanned by the Google camera, as well as for the pictures taken by Meitzner on site. It is not the information they contain which separates these pictorial worlds from each other, but instead the motivation and concrete realization of the respective procedures.
In contrast to the undifferentiated pool of images amassed by the Google Street View program, Meitzner's photographs are based on aesthetic reflection and on formal processes of decision-making, on a deliberate consideration with regard to their presentation and on a specific materiality which comes to light in the exhibition and in the book. The difference may be a gradual progression, but it is of existential importance: Vision and experience, representation and exhibition, designation and interpretation serve in this sense to differentiate real space and virtual spheres. In this reading, Google Street View and street photography are not identical procedures. Nicola Meitzner's current work is situated between these two poles in the media context. The notion of photographic authenticity, whatever its actual nature, is contradicted by the photographer, who considers it to be a sentimental notion, but this changes nothing with regard to the necessity of formulating a photographic position. Even if the sites are arbitrary and always prove to be different than what was expected.
Inkjetprints Color and B/W
24 x 32 cm / 39 x 58 cm
Artbook 19 x 25 cm, 72 pages
Edition: 10 + 2 A.P.
price on request