The Magical Kingdom
The Magical Kingdom comments on the mass production of digital images while turning its attention to the materiality and new functions of photography. Guy Grabowsky’s interest lies in the photographic medium, how it is continually evolving and shifting both reality and how we perceive it. In other words to negotiate contemporary photography is to negotiate the human condition. The Magical Kingdom is part of the artist’s long-term fascination and examination into the question, what is photography within modernity, where does it begin and end? To find an answer Grabowsky looks beyond “the documentary photograph” and contemplate the effect images are having in society and how they are continually evolving.
Digital images have resulted in birthing a new age, titled the “hyper-normal” in Adam Curtis’s 2016 documentary hypernormalisation: a “post image, post photography” modernity whereby photographs and imagery have become so ubiquitous and desensitising that the experience of looking at them becomes mundane. How is art responding to this current photographic age? Contemporary images are ever-evolving “symbionts” which spread and manipulate environments. As noted in Hito Steyerl’s essay Too Much World: is the internet Dead? “Images are…nodes of energy and matter that migrate across different supports, shaping and affecting people, landscapes, politics, and social systems”. Within the hyper-normal era smart phones function as contemporary mirrors, the struggle to delineate the real from “our reflection” becomes ever more apparent.