Katarina Löfström’s ”High Noon”: The Materiality of a Medium

Curator's Note

When an image is blurred, one way to evoke it more distinctly is to look at it with screwed-up eyes. And if it happens to be extremely small it might be easier to catch a glimpse of it either by enlarging it or to move closer towards it. But how far is it possible to focus a picture before it transforms into an abstract pattern? And how many times is it possible to enlarge an image before it turns into a completely new image?

These questions are put to the fore by watching the Swedish artist Katarina Löfström’s video clip “High Noon”. Due to the size of the pixels in the picture as well as the abstract music it’s almost impossible to see or hear what the film represents. The effect becomes similar to what happens when one enlarge an image in the computer far too many times with the result that the only thing left visible is each and every singular pixel of the image. However, there is an important difference between Löfström’s video and an image in the computer. Löfström’s clip doesn’t contain a button to press in order to decrease the image back to recognizability. In this case we’re left completely to our own imagination.

On one hand, Löfström’s clip deals with questions concerning the materiality of the medium since it investigates the video image as well as its conditions. On the other hand, those questions are inevitably related to the presence of us as viewers of the clip. It’s our presence, our distance and – not at least – our practices of looking that are put to the fore. Therefore the inevitable question must be: what happens when we look at our surroundings on such a close distance that the invisible borders between us and it disappears. In other words: is it possible to get too close?

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