Kata Gebel discusses the paradox of capitalism in its practice

reading time: 3 Minutes

As the photographer posts, There is nothing under the sunIn a new book with Void, we’re revisiting the project

A bunch of bees, a hooded horse, the financial district of London, athletes; Pictures in the book Kata Gable no new under the sun Ambiguous at first, as is the title. But they are related to each other by their own color palette and Geibl’s proposal, which is about global capitalism and its control over our perceptions. Animals are under human control, reconfigured as sources in a worldview that does not recognize them as having an intrinsic value of their own; Athletes suggest competition, in a system that makes us all winners (or mostly losers). At the same time, London’s Canary Wharf district represents finance, but also a vision of a dystopian world made of steel and glass. The twenty-first century is strange, but we are so deeply entrenched that we don’t see it often.

“When people think of capitalism, they think primarily of consumption, perhaps money and banking,” Gibel explains. “They never think about the ideology behind it, which affects everyone’s life. Almost every picture in the book is high lit, backlit, and intense light, which gives it a very cinematic look, but also means you can’t escape the feeling that something is weird. Happen or occur “.

© Kata Gebel.

These sentiments are important to Gibel because she wants her images to elicit an emotional response, to infect viewers before conscious thought, just as ideology does. The title of her book suggests something similar, because although it is an everyday phrase in English, it comes from the Bible – a book whose teachings still underpin Western society, and which explicitly grant humans sovereignty over the earth. However, the phrase “there is nothing new under the sun” comes from a passage that suggests that humans should have some humility, when faced with a planet much larger than themselves.

“What has happened will be again, what has been accomplished will happen again; there is nothing new under the sun,” reads the text in Ecclesiastes, which was sent to me by Gibell. ‘Is there anything one could say of him, ‘Look! Is this something new? It was here a long time ago; He was here before our time.”

Besides these elements, Gibel added an intriguing text, combining a more direct critique of capitalism. She examines intellectual heavyweights like Jean Baudrillard and David Harvey, with her very personal memories of trying to get into art school, or growing up in post-Soviet Hungary. It also includes small, monochrome images from sources such as the popular Alain Robbe-Grillet film. Last year in Marienbad (1961).

© Kata Gebel.

© Kata Gable, Courtesy of Void.

The text aims to provide a more direct reading of market economics but also “take the incomprehensible idea of ​​the capitalist state to the level of a personal matter,” says Gibel, who is keen to suggest how it affects us all. Likewise, the text is deliberately rendered, with pages printed sideways, cut halfway, or annotated with handwritten scribbles, in an attempt to show the “roughness that occurs behind cinematic images.”

This text also includes Geibl’s work experiences, whether in an early job, at a standstill or in an art market where, for example, she has to incur the cost of creating works for photo exhibitions without the guarantee of their sale. She reflects on her position as a millennial, born in a world where “there is no alternative” to neoliberalism (as Margaret Thatcher put it), but in which the secure jobs and traditional trappings of middle-class life are far from many. Young.

© Kata Gebel.

“Employers bait on the persistent myth that when we do what we love, that work is no longer work.”

As Gibel points out, this position is systematic but formulated in terms of individual responsibility; Individuals are then urged to find the jobs they enjoy, so that they “never work another day of their lives”. But this trade-off often equates to poor pay. “Employers circulate the persistent myth that when we do something we love, work is no longer a totality,” says Gibel, putting up the lock.

Of course there is a contradiction here, between Gibel’s critique of the market and the fact that she is involved in it – that she released this book, for example, which was published by the Athens-based Void Foundation (although it was also supported by the EU-backed organization Futures). Gibel is aware of the inconsistencies but points out that there are very few alternatives. “It’s a personal struggle for me, how do I break free from the market when we’re dependent on it at the same time,” she says.

“Yes, the book is sold as a thing and that is something I talked about with Void a lot,” she says. “This cognitive dissonance is that we have an important ‘product’ of capitalism but that we have to market, to get it out there and reach as many people as possible. It’s something we’re well aware of, but hopefully the book’s design – humor, clever self-reflection – means that this mystery is there and conscious by itself”.


There is nothing new under the sun by Kata Gable and published by Void

Post-Kata Gibel discussed the paradox of capitalism first appearing in 1854 photographic.

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