作者丨张文心


在这个不断变动着的时代,摄影本身就像一个生命体,快速地自我更新着。自发地吸收并制造新想法,并将摄影与其他媒介有机结合的年轻艺术家们也开始在当代艺术领域崭露头角。正是在这种充满开拓与探索精神的大环境下,我于近期开始了“丛林访谈系列”,对话青年图像制造者。今天带来这个访谈系列的第一篇——《猎鹿师德鲁·尼克诺维奇》。


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德鲁·尼克诺维奇(Drew Nikonowicz)是去年光圈社作品集大奖的获得者,他在美国的密苏里州出生并长大,现于密苏里大学艺术系就读,是一个忙忙碌碌但极有条理的大四学生。与传统意义上的四处奔走的摄影师不同,德鲁的大部分创作时间都在学校的摄影工作室中度过。他的作品《This World and Others Like It》乍看上去是十分传统的黑白地景摄影,期间穿插着一些奇怪的静物照片,但细心的人会不难发现,其中的许多照片都是由电脑生成,并带有三维建模中常见的不真实感。不仅如此,对书本,电脑屏幕,甚至底片本身的翻拍也零散地安插于其中。这种有意的混杂使观者开始对眼前所见的真实性,甚至对摄影本身产生怀疑,并于费解中开始建构起自己对这一系列的各种解读。


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于我来说,德鲁既不是一个虚无缥缈的空想型艺术家,也不是一个成日研究代码的极客,他是一个生长在数字时代,并对周遭充满好奇与研究精神的年轻学者,他游离于现实与虚拟世界之间,猎取那或许并不存在,但同样让人心潮澎湃的未知鹿群。


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(Z=张文心 D=德鲁·尼克诺维奇)


Z:在你的艺术创作中,你使用的图像语言相当具有开放性,不像许多艺术家倾向于将胶片摄影与数字科技对立起来,你似乎可以很自然地将它们融合起来,这与你的童年生长环境有关吗?


D:我是在互联网被发明之后出生的。在我的整个生活中,电脑和互联网总是伴我左右。所以我的数字生活和现实生活从来没有分开过。它们总是相互交织,并相互作用着。从这点上来说,我的年纪对我的作品有很大影响。如果我更早出生,并且曾在数字科技造成普遍影响前生活了很长一段时间,我可能会无法自然地让胶片摄影与电脑生成的图片在我的创作中如此协调地共存。我不喜欢仅仅因为一个东西是不同的或者是新的而将它排除出去。



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Z:在这个后互联网时代,你觉得图像的语言会怎样演变呢?


D:由于我只经历过互联网诞生之后的世界(在这个世界中我的经历也不多),我不确定我们会去向何方。不过我相信胶片摄影总有其存在的一席之地。我的希望是新的科技可以进入到摄影这个大家庭,并且与旧有的东西共生。



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Z:许多使用摄影创作的人将自己定义为“使用摄影的艺术家”,从而与传统的“摄影师”定义区隔开来,但我没有从你这里看到这种倾向。你的所有照片都是黑白的,包括那些由电脑生成的图片,在我看来这仿佛是对摄影史的一种致敬。你使用大画幅胶片相机,你甚至使用3d打印机制作了一台4x5单轨照相机。在你的博客上,你曾说过你与摄影的关系像是一段罗曼史,那么这段罗曼史是怎样开始的,你与它现在的恋爱状态又是怎样呢?


D:我直到高中时才拥有了自己的相机。但我与图像之间的关系可以追溯到从使用家中电脑上的画图工具,或者从玩网络游戏时开始。可以说在我拥有相机之前的很长一段时间,我与照片的羁绊便开始萌芽。当然,我对摄影的爱真正开始生长还是等要到拥有相机之后。

 

首先我认为自己是一个摄影师。我认为称自己为“使用摄影的艺术家”的人仅仅是为了能够参与到一种特定的对话情境中。同样的,我称自己为摄影师,因为即使是在使用电脑生成图像的时候,我仍是以摄影史为创作的大前提。将自己称作什么,其实是根据创作者的个人定位,以及想要参与的不同对话语境而决定的。对我来说,称自己为一个摄影师很重要,因为我想要参与的是关于摄影的元讨论,以及摄影与地景的关系。


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Z:地景,不论是存在于现实世界中,还是各种屏幕上,似乎都在你的项目《This World and Others Like It》中占据重要的部分。地景的含义随着科技的发展变得愈发广泛,我很好奇你对地景,以及地景摄影的观点和体验是什么样的?


D:我生活中的很大一部分都深受到科技的影响,在我们所处的世界中,科技与地景非常相似,并互相联结。从某种程度上说,我们的整个星球都被以图像形式记录了下来,我们从笔记本电脑上就可以把它看个遍。在我去到一个地方之前,因为科技的便利,我就已经见到了它在电影或者照片中的样子。这完全改变了我对世界的感知方式。我的思想被所见的图像所影响着。当我到达那个地方后,我会思考图像与眼前所见的差别之处。所以放大了来说,地景,地景摄影,以及科技,它们不可思议地紧密结合为一体,并且完全改变了我们体验世界的方式。



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Z:你使用4乘5相机拍摄现成图片及屏幕上的图像,比如那张宇航员的照片,以及在车窗外奔跑的鹿群。当你拍摄屏幕时,你会觉得自己是在虚拟世界中拍摄吗?同时,你如何看待这个时代艺术家与著作权和版权的关系?

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D:在屏幕前拍摄那张阿波罗11号的宇航员Buzz Aldrin在月球上的照片时,与从窗户中向外拍摄的感觉很相似。如果我将屏幕的边框摄入,那么观者就像是在观看窗户的内部,这与我的体验则正好相反。因此,在重新拍摄这张由Neil Armstrong所摄的著名照片时,我将观者置于一个特定的地点——我的电脑跟前。这是一个你可以对所有事物进行探索的地方,就像我在我的作品简介中写的那样:现如今,想要到达最崇高的风景,只能在科技创造的边界之内实现。


关于那张鹿的照片,我认为它和那张宇航员的照片功效相似。同时,我觉得我使用了创作这张照片的最佳方法。我当时在电脑游戏中开着车,然后电脑生成的鹿群就奔跑了过去。在开车时看见奔跑的鹿群不是一个非常常见的体验,但我将这张照片拍摄出来,你们看见了,就与我一起以第一人称的方式分享了这个瞬间。我认为,这种在虚拟世界中的体验也许与在真实世界中的感触同样强烈。在拍摄这张照片时,我将4乘5相机对准电脑屏幕,一边在游戏中开着车,寻找游戏中不太颠簸的路段,从而可以使车子内部有比较清晰的成像。当时我只是想捕捉车窗外风景的频闪,但当鹿群突然出现时,整个时间仿佛都慢了下来,我毫不犹豫地按动了相机的快门线,并祈祷摄影之神显灵让我拍到鹿群。


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在我的创作中,我从不会去遮掩关于图像的著作权或者版权问题。比如,那张阿波罗11号的照片只有当大家知道照片的出处时,效果才能达到。总的来说,我觉得诚实就是通行证。挪用图像,以及重新拍摄的方法已经出现很久了,我对这种现象或者使用这种手法的艺术家也不抱有任何的反对。只有当人们想要占有不属于他们的东西时,才会出现问题。我就此在我的博客上专门写过一篇文章,有兴趣的朋友可以在这里看到:


就在光圈社的展览来说,你展出了许多张比较小幅的,很整齐并且紧密地排列成三行的照片,你布展的初衷是怎样的?


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D:关于展览的方式,我思考了很久,并且改动过许多次。展墙上照片的次序就像阅读书本的顺序那样——从左上到右下。当你沿着顺序观看时,照片的内容从大多真实的大地景观慢慢演变为电脑生成的图片。展览开始于一张非常简易的纸做的地景模型,并终止于一张由电脑生成的雄伟壮阔的地景图片。在光圈社的展览与在我网站上的编排大体上是一样的。


Z:你的项目《This World and Others Like It》仍在进行中吗?除此之外你还有在做其他的作品吗,同时,有哪些东西是你近期的灵感来源?


D:没错,《This World and Others Like It》仍在进行。我觉得还没到开始一个新项目的时候,因为这个项目中的意识流还在不断地流动着呢。我除此之外还有一个新的项目正在进行,不过现在我想暂时保密。

我上个学期在学校选了一个关于印度电影的课,我非常喜欢,所以我在有空的时候会看一些印度电影。目前我最喜欢的两个是《Om Shanti Om》和《Karz》,我不清楚它们是否直接影响了我的创作,但潜移默化的影响肯定存在。


Z:你目前还是密苏里大学的学生,你同时也有多个项目正在进行,可以大致描述一下你日常生活之中的一周是怎样度过的吗?


D:作为一个学生我的生活当然是忙忙碌碌的。我是那种工作啊,做作品的时间久了就呆不住的人,所以我并没有一个特别规律的时间表。但我的生活里还是有一些比较关键的部分。密苏里大学的艺术系沿用人文科学模式,所以我可以选到一些不同科系的课程。除了基础教育课程外,当然我在每个学期都会选修各种艺术类课程,主要是摄影和艺术史,还有就是从3d建模到印度电影到数理统计等等各种各样的课。

在密苏里大学的过去两年半,我还担任学校摄影工作室的管理员,每周工作20个小时。这对我而言很重要,因为我得以和修摄影课的同好们时常谈论作品,影响到我们的东西,以及各种可能会出现的技术问题以及解决方法。我觉得,这种时常的交流解惑对我和我的作品都产生了非常重要的影响。除此之外我非常喜欢在那儿工作,或者就单纯呆在那里,那儿真的像是我的家了。

当我不在上课也不在摄影工作室工作时,我的时间大多花在做自己的作品上。正因为如此,我大量的自由时间还是呆在摄影工作室,不论是下班后,还是在轮到别人值班时。那些时间我主要用在了《This World and Others Like It》这个项目的创作,以及一些未发表的作品上。同时,我还用3d打印制作了一台相机,还有很多零散奇怪的项目和想法。那些零散的项目慢慢地聚拢到一起,后来变成了我一个更大项目的一部分。

 

所以总的来说你总是能在摄影工作室看到我,如果我不在那儿,那我一定是在上课,拍照,或者吃午饭。



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D:最后我知道你很喜欢阅读。你可以向我们推荐一些书吗?


D:没错我特喜欢看书!真希望我能有更多时间用来看书啊。最近一段时间我最喜欢的书是Rebecca Solnit的《River of Shadows》,强烈推荐。同时还有Philip K. Dick的《Man in the High Castle》。我目前正在看《Infinite Jest》,我很喜欢这本书,但我还剩750页才能把它读完。有一本我一直想要重读的书是Will Steacy的《Photographs Not Taken》。这本书由一系列的文章组成,每篇都讲述了一个摄影师由于各种原因没有拍下的照片。

我同时也想推荐几本在我的私人藏书中最喜欢的几本摄影画册。其中有:Erik Schubert的《How to Win Friends and Influence People》,Taryn Simon的《An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar》,Joan Fontcuberta的《Landscapes Without Memory》,Timothy O’ Sullivan的《The King Survey Photographs》(耶鲁出版社版本),以及George Shiras的《In the Heart of the Dark Night》。


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作者简介


张文心于1989年出生于安徽合肥,现工作生活于中美两地,她于2013年获得美国加州艺术学院纯硕士学位。张文心的作品探讨现实与虚构的界限,以多种叙事手法创建章节式的视觉小说。张文心曾获得徕卡新人奖和三影堂摄影奖提名,并获得马格南Atlantic Philanthropies项目奖金,并曾在旧金山瑞柯摄影中心和伍德斯托克摄影中心驻地。


In this ever-changing age, photography is like a living form that is undergoing constant self-renewals. Artists who absorb and produce new ideas in combining photography with other mediums are starting to gain more exposure in the contemporary art world. In this exploratory environment, I have started the “Jungle Interview” series. The inaugural interview of this series is “Deer Hunter Drew Nikonowicz”.

Drew Nikonowicz is the winner of the 2015 Aperture Portfolio Prize. He grew up in Missouri, and is now a senior photography student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Rather than being a photographer who is always on the go, Drew spends most of his time making work in the photo studio at school. His project “This World and Others Like It” appears to resemble the traditional landscape and still-life photography at first glance, but if you take a closer look, a lot of the photographs employ computer simulations and they carry a sense of uncanny that can usually be found in video games. Besides that, Drew also included photographs of book pages, computer screens, even large format film into the project. This complexity of subject matter opens up different interpretations and encourages viewers to be skeptical about the relationship between photography and reality.

To me, Drew is a young, enthusiastic scholar who grew up in the digital age. He drifts in between reality and simulation, hunts for the deer herd that may only exist in the virtual world, but still carry the same awe and aura as in the real world.

WZ: You are currently a college student at University of Missouri, and you have a lot of projects going on, can you describe a typical week of your life?

DN: At MU I had a busy schedule. I am the kind of person who likes to chip away at projects and work so I didn’t really carry a consistent schedule. But my life did consist of a few key elements. Firstly I was a student; the art department at MU is a liberal arts model, so I was always taking different classes. It’s also a research school, so a good amount of my hours had to be spent taking general education courses. Every semester my schedule had a mix of art courses - primarily photography - art history, and everything else which ranged from 3d modeling to Indian Cinema to Statistics.

For the last 2½ years of my time at MU I was also the photography lab manager 20 hours a week. The most important element about this for me was the constant interaction with my colleagues taking photography courses. I was constantly discussing work, influences, and technical problems/solutions that might come up. I think the constant interaction with people interested in photography had a huge impact on me and my work. On top of that I loved working and being there; it really became my home.

When I wasn’t in class or working in the lab, I spent most of my time working on my own projects. To that effect, I spent a huge chunk of my free time in the lab after hours or during other shifts. The bulk of that time was spent working on what has now become This World and Others Like It, but I also have been working on some other things that I haven’t released yet, developed and 3d printed a working camera, and various odd projects and ideas. The odd projects typically end up wrapping around and becoming part of one of my bigger projects.

So in short I could almost always be found in the photo lab, and when I wasn’t there I was either in class, making photographs, or grabbing lunch.

WZ: In your art practice, the language of imagery you are using is quite open, unlike some artists who contradict analog photography with digital technology, you seem to embrace them in an natural and integrated way. Did it come from your childhood experience?

DN: I was born after the internet was invented. Throughout my entire life I have always had access to a computer and the internet. So my digital existence and my tangible existence have never been separated. They have always been intertwined and are constantly informing each other. I would say the time I was born is important in that way. I don’t think I would see both analog photography and computer generated imagery as perfectly acceptable ways of creation had I been born early enough to have lived a life without these new technologies. I am not interested in ruling something out simply because it is different or new.

WZ: (To continue the question above) In this post-internet era, how do you think the language of photography and image-making will evolve?

DN: I’m not sure I am equipped to answer that question. Being someone who has only seen a post-internet world (and very little of it at that!) I can’t say for certain where we’re headed. I do think there will always be a place for analogue photographic processes. My hope is that new technologies can enter into the photography family and cohabitate with old ones.

WZ: A lot of artists who work with photography define themselves as photo-based artists to distinguish themselves from the traditional notion of “photographer”, but I don’t see this tendency in you. All your images are black and white, including the computer generated ones, which seems like a tribute to photography history, you use large format analog cameras, you have even build a 4x5 mono rail camera using your 3D printer. You have also mentioned in your blog that your relationship towards photography is like a romance. So when did this romance start, and how this romantic relationship has been going?

DN: I didn’t have my own camera until I was in high school. But my relationship to imagery is traceable back to when I first started using the family computer to access everything from MSPaint to online video games. Long before I even had a camera I was tinkering with photographs. Once I had my own camera my love for photography really took off, though.

I would consider myself a photographer primarily. I think artists who consider themselves photo-based artists are simply participating in a particular conversation. In the same way, I call myself a photographer because even my computer generated photographs are made with the history of photography in mind. It is simply a difference in the tone that an artist wants to strike, or the conversation they want to participate in. It’s important for me to call myself a photographer because one of the things I am engaged with is a meta conversation about photography and its relationship to the landscape.

WZ: Landscapes, either the ones from real life or from different kinds of screens, seem to play a crucial part in your project This World and Others Like It. The notion of landscape is so broad and it has been drastically expanding along with technology development. I’m curious about your perspective and experience on landscape, as well as landscape photography.

DN: A large majority of my life experiences have been heavily influenced by my relationship to technology. In the world we currently live in, technology and the landscape are very similar, and are bound to each other. Our entire planet has been imaged to some extent, and we can see all of it directly from our laptops. Before I’ve physically been to a place, I’ve already seen it depicted in movies or photographs via technology. This completely alters the way I experience the world around me. My mind is influenced by the imagery I have already seen. When I arrive at that place I then contemplate the differences between the images and the thing itself. So to expand on my original thought, landscape, landscape photography, and technology are incredibly bound to each other and have completely altered the way we experience the world around us.

WZ: You use 4x5 to take photos of images and videos from the screens, for example, the photograph of the astronaut, and the one with deer running outside the windows of the car, did you consider yourself photographing the virtual world when taking photos of the screen? And what do you think about the artist’s authorship and copyright in this age?

DN: The photograph from Apollo 11 of Buzz Aldrin on the moon functions similar to making a photograph of something out of a window. If I show you the window frame in the image, the photograph becomes about looking as opposed to the thing itself. By rephotographing that famous image made by Neil Armstrong through my screen, I position the viewer in a specific location - in front of their computer. A place from which most everything can be explored, and as I say in my statement, the sublime landscape is now only accessible within the boundaries of technology.

As for the image of the deer, I see it as functioning similar to how I see the Apollo 11 image functioning. Also though, this is the best way to create the image. I am driving a vehicle in a video game, and computer-loaded deer are running alongside my car. I gave an in-depth explanation of this image during my lecture at 2015 Medium San Diego. I would encourage anyone curious about the image to tune in to around the 26 minute mark.

In my own practice I am not trying to hide anything in regard to authorship or copyright in my imagery. For example, the Apollo 11 image mentioned above I think that photograph works best when it is understood where that image comes from. In general, I think honesty is the big player in my mind. Appropriating imagery and ‘rephotography’ have been around for a long time. I don’t have any quarrels with these things or with artists using them. The problem comes when people try to claim things that aren’t theirs as their own. I actually posted about these ideas on my blog several months back. For those interested, take a look here.

WZ: In your exhibition at Aperture, the installation consists many relatively small, framed images, lined up in a strip of three rows in a very firm and orderly way, what was your intention for the installation? Do you see this as your ideal format of installation?

DN: The installation at Aperture was one that I proposed and Aperture approved. So this was something I came up with after quite a bit of deliberations and several iterations. The sequence is meant to be read just like you might read a book - from top left to bottom right. As you go along the sequence it slowly shifts from mostly real, terrestrial landscapes to computer generated photographs. It begins with a very humble landscape made from paper, and ends with a grandiose computer generated photograph. The sequence at Aperture is mostly the same as the one on my website.

As the work currently stands it is my ideal installation form. Of course, over time I imagine the work will change and progress, so it might not be how I would install it in the future.

WZ: Is This World and Others Like It still in progress? What projects are you working on and what are your recent inspirations?

DN: It is. I haven’t reached a point where I feel it’s time to start a new project. The stream of consciousness my photographs have still seems to be consistent. I am working on another new project alongside This World and Others Like It, but I have not revealed anything about it officially.

In my last semester of college I took an Indian Cinema class and really enjoyed the films, so I have been watching more Indian films in my free time. My top two right now are Om Shanti Om and Karz. I’m not sure they have directly inspired me, but I’m sure the influence will sneak into my work somehow.

WZ: Last but not least, I know you like reading. Can you recommend some books to us?

DN: I really do! I just wish I could find more time to read. Rebecca Solnit’s River of Shadows is probably my favorite book I’ve read recently. I can’t recommend it enough. I also would recommend The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. I’m currently reading Infinite Jest and so far I’m enjoying it, but I’ve got about 750 [as of 2/20/2016 I have 360] more pages to go. Another great book I have been meaning to read again is Will Steacy’s Photographs Not Taken. It’s a collection of essays from photographers about photographs they didn’t take for one reason or another.

I also want to recommend a couple photo books that I really love and have in my personal library. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Erik Schubert, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar by Taryn Simon, Landscapes Without Memory by Joan Fontcuberta, The King Survey Photographs by Timothy O’Sullivan (published by Yale Press), and In the Heart of the Dark Nightby George Shiras.

艺术家网址Artist’s website:

http://www.nikonowicz.com/

 

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