The Benefit of ‘Undo-ing’

Today’s lecture on collaging as a medium was very thought provoking. We were given many questions to answer in groups and that resulted in a lot of debate around the topics related to collage as a radical medium and the benefit in using Photoshop.

Jess Baines asked us to consider the etymology of the word “radical”;

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-13-16-22“affecting the fundamental nature of something;”

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-13-16-26« forming the root; from Latin radix, radic- ‘root’ »

She moved on to explain that anything radical was challenging fundamentally accepted norms of a certain idea. In this respect, I think that collage was radical because at the time of its rise, it was a direct opposition and rebellion to what art was meant to achieve: perfection in craftsmanship and proportion, be it in painting or sculpture.

I also see collage as radical because it challenges the meaning of originality and authenticity. The act of reappropriating an image or text in a composition of other images or texts to create new meaning is useful in communicating a vision at the start of a project. However, the fact that you are using ready-made content that is not your own raises questions about whether the eventual work you produce is original and authentic.

Olly brought up a good point—the product is greater than the sum of its parts. By composing a new image from older, preexisting images, you are removing meaning and context from the preexisting images as individual entities and giving new meaning to a group of them as a whole.

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