The Image’s Updates

Community Spotlight – Plenary Interview: Blake Fitzpatrick and Vid Ingelevics

Vid Ingelevics
Blake Fitzpatrick

Vid Ingelevics is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in Toronto, Canada. Blake Fitzpatrick teaches in the Documentary Media graduate program at Ryerson University. Since 2003, they have been collaborating on a variety of projects focusing on the Berlin Wall, as both object and image.

Recently, The Image Community's Social Media Chair, Daniel Rourke, caught up the scholars for a brief interview about their work, their inspiration, and their upcoming role as Plenary Speakers at The Fifth International Conference on the Image, presenting their work, The Image of the Wall: Images on the Wall.

Daniel: In what way do images stand in place of, or augment, the concept of the fragment or the ruin?

Vid Ingelevics and Blake Fitzpatrick and: Photographic images – which, along with video, are the medium we work with - are themselves fragments excised from the continuum of the world so the photograph is already tied conceptually to the idea of the fragment. Turning to the question of painted images on the Wall, when the Wall was (mostly) dismantled in modular sections, existing mural paintings that once spanned many metres of the Wall were fragmented and then became commodities that could be bought, sold and exchanged. These fragments that are, in truth, the ruins of the Wall, are now circulating the globe not only detached from their original historical and political contexts but they now become a synecdoche for the Wall as it once stood. Further fragmentation occurs when the modular sections of the Wall are reduced to even smaller pieces to service the tourist industry. The key marker of authenticity for such souvenirs is the trace of paint on its surface, a surface that once was part of an image. The splash of paint on the souvenir’s surface is itself also a fragmentary mark of what was once a representation. To sum up, our photographs of the Wall are, therefore, themselves fragments that represent the fragmentary state of the Wall today.

Daniel: How has the proliferation of images of the Berlin Wall impacted on its ‘everydayness’?

BF & VI: The proliferation of photographic images of the Wall has shifted our understanding of the Wall from object to image; an image rooted in a particular period of history that is long past. In truth, the everydayness of the Wall is not often represented because it undermines the iconic figure of the Wall as it exists in the popular imagination still. In acknowledging the Wall in its often banal contemporary settings, our project, Freedom Rocks, points to an ongoing history of the Wall that includes its pre-1989 history but has continued into the present. Our images show the continued afterlife of the Wall and refute the idea that the history of the Wall ended when the Cold War did (another debatable premise!). What our images show is the ongoing decontextualization of the Wall through the passage of time and through it’s geographic displacement in North America and even in Berlin itself.

Daniel: What's the main idea that has motivated your work?

BF & VI: As this is a collaborative project, we’ll address this project specifically. The key premise of our work is that the Berlin Wall is a mobile ruin and that the meaning of the Wall has shifted post-1989. The mobility of the Wall is both symptomatic of the shift of its meaning and, simultaneously, produces it.

Daniel: Where or when do you find yourself most productive?

BF & VI: On sabbatical!!

Daniel: Who have been your biggest heroes/heroines? And why?

BF & VI: Wim Wenders, for his film, Wings of Desire, because of how Wenders showed the Wall as an everyday object in its moment in 1987. We’ve produced a short video that dialogues with Wender’s film in order to juxtapose Cold War and post-Cold War representations of the Wall.

Daniel: What most excites you right now?

BF & VI: Moving closer to the culmination of our project and the opportunity to examine the 25th anniversary of the “fall of the Wall” as a moment of hyper-commemoration and to speculate on the future of the Wall’s past (i.e., how 25th anniversary Wall images will become part of history).

Daniel: What do you see as the biggest challenges to the field?

BF & VI: Which field? For artists, it is always a question of funding and dissemination of work. How, where and why?

Daniel: How has the field changed over the course of your career, and where do you imagine your field might be in 5 years?

BF &VI: The major change has been the hybridity of artistic practice and the grudging acceptance that artistic practice can be a form of research and knowledge production. We work within a context of research and creation as mutually reinforcing activities.

Daniel: What is your present state of mind?

BF &VI: Don’t ask. Stress!

Daniel: What are you most proud of in your work?

BF &VI: This project has been on-going now for a decade and we are proud of the thoroughness, rigour and dedication to following our intuition in relation to this often-overlooked subject in history.

Daniel Rourke is a writer and artist currently finalising a practice-based PhD in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research concerns the representation of mutation in digital culture and the post-humanities. He is lecturer in Arts and Media at London South Bank University, and associate lecturer at Kingston University. His written work has appeared in AfterImage, Texte Zur Kunst, Alluvium Journal, Furtherfield and regularly at