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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathPhotographic/Post-Photographic
Ficticious Porträts (Cottingham, Keith), 1992o.T. (Export, Valie), 1989The Dystopia Series; Maria (Aziz, Anthony; Cucher, Sammy), 1994

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number of the works it included tested the new tools (Photoshop, Paintbox and the like) on the human body, on the human face: Bodies were deformed and hybridized (Inez van Lamsweerde), constructed (Keith Cottingham's «Fictitious Portraits» from 1992); faces were ‹folded› (Valie Export's «o.T.» from 1989), robbed of their countenance (Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher's «Dystopia» from 1994), their individuality (Nancy Burson's series «Chimären» since 1982). [51] It is at the interface of the human body that the post-photographic discourse eclipses that on the ‹posthuman,› [52] in which digital processing stands so to speak metaphorically for the ubiquitous variability of the human body through cosmetic surgery and the genetic technology of the future. However, whereas talk of the ‹posthuman› drives forward the imagining of a new design, a new model of the human in more of an affirmative gesture, [53] the artistic works cited above visualize the apprehension triggered off by the feeling of uncertainty with respect to our traditional ideas about the similarity and identity of the subject55 (confirmed by the traditional photographic portrait in its reference to an individual physiognomy, a distinct


body), i.e. they make ‹dystopic› reference to what is possibly a changing ‹human› form.

Unstable Images

«The digital image technologies have literally eliminated a photographic model of representation, the spatial-temporal bond of a light-sensitive carrier material to a spatial-temporal constellation/figuration in front of the camera, and put it up for debate. The very foundation of the ontology of the photographic image as conceived by the likes of Kracauer and Benjamin, and later by Bazin and Barthes, has been shaken. In view of the binary coding of the photographic contingency, even the index theory, which follows Charles S. Pierce, now appears to be obsolete.» [54] As explained above, the indexicality of photography substantiated its credibility as evidence of something that had actually been there in front of the camera. Even the knowledge that a photo does not gain meaning until it has been contextualized has not led us to fundamentally doubt this credibitility. Today, the reception of photographs is beginning to change: We now start off by doubting its promise of reality. The

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