Asymmetrical Authority

Photographs | 2019

“Photographs are both images and physical objects that exist in time and space and thus in social and cultural experience. They have ‘volume, opacity, tactility and a physical presence in the world’ (Geoffery Batchen) and are thus enmeshed with subjective, embodied and sensuous interactions. These characteristics cannot be reduced to an abstract status as a commodity, nor to a set of meanings or ideologies that take the image as their pretext. Instead, they occupy spaces, move into different spaces, following lines of passage and usage that project them through the world.
…In shifting the methodological focus away from content alone, it can be seen that it is not merely the image qua image that is the site of meaning, but that its material and presentational forms and the uses to which they are put are central to the function of a photograph as a socially salient object. It can also be observed that these material forms exist in dialogue with the image itself to create the associative values placed on them.
Materiality translates the abstract and representational ‘photography’ into ‘photographs’ as objects that exist in time and space. The possibility of thinking about photographs in this way in part rests on the elemental fact that they are things: ‘they are made, used, kept, and stored for specific reasons which do not necessarily coincide… they can be transported, relocated, dispersed or damaged, torn and cropped and because viewing implies one or several physical interactions’ (Nuno Porto).”

Photographs Objects Histories
– Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart

“I was born just a couple of months before the Revolution.My childhood memories are of the highly uncertain and extreme ideological atmosphere of the post-revolutionary decade during the war. During these years I had developed a game with my grandfather. I would wait for him to read the newspapers, which I remember him doing with an extremely worrisome and disheartened look on his face. We would then play with the paper, fold it, cut it, and make it into different shapes and forms. This was the origin of Asymmetrical Authority, and really, all of my experimentations with history and image. In my game, the documented history of the earlier generations’ struggles and achievements, became the raw material for creation. Today, over three decades later, I have started a new game with the similar images of the past but, this time, as an author.”

– Parham Taghioff

From History/Image: National Memory Beyond Nationalism
A Conversation with Parham Taghioff by Milad Odabaei(Ph.D.
Anthropology, McGill University)