The Post Readymade Photographed Object

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Abstract

The Venus of Willendorf, a limestone figurine unearthed in 1908, has been considered one of the first found objects of our civilization. The Venus falls into the category “objects we find” and we consider as art, rather than in the category “found objects,” or “objets trouvés” in French, which has been associated with appropriating objects one finds and presenting them as readymade art. I argue in this article that in photography, especially on the eve of so-called post photography, the above terms converge and objects photographed can belong to both of the above categories. This is because their interpretation is heavily dependent on historical, ontological, and semantic information fueled by what I call “the dynamics of subject-object-viewer encounter.” The above dynamics constitute a discursive area which, following Chan, Luttingen, Gaskel-Thatcher, and Danto, addresses object materiality, utility, and function in society—viewers’ notions on object phenomenology and human visual perception. To test these arguments, I examine the properties of my portfolio “A World of Immaterial Objects, 2013–2019.” In doing so, I provide explicit details on my work processes, that is, how the transition of objects to photographs is realized and why. I then discuss the product of that process—the post readymade photographed object—and how its new immaterial version affects the dynamics of subject, object, and viewer encounter. Re-installing my hypotheses on the relationship between “objects we find,” “found objects,” and “objects photographed,” I re-join Chan and Luttingen and their notions on readymades, residual materialism, art, and thingness to draw comparisons to my notion of the post readymade photographed object. I foresee, after Gaskel and Thatcher, that post readymade photographed objects, in their immaterial versions as enchanted relics of our culture, will have a role to play in the writing of the history of our civilization.