quotation of the month – Incoming, Mosse

“…The fact that this camera sees beyond 50 kilometres is not extraordinary – everyone can see the moon with their eyes, for example – but it is special in that it can detect the human body at great distances. In many ways Incoming is about the body. So, under test situations, the camera has proven to detect the human body from a distance of 30.3 kilometres, and to identify an individual from 6.3 kilometres. I don’t know how they really measure ‘identify an individual’ in this case, but it’s fairly self-evident what it means to detect the human body from 30.3 kilometres, and that is very impressive. You have to remember that the curvature of the earth obscures vision at sea level in only a few kilometres. So those tests would have carried out from raised evaluation.
I suppose I am attracted to expressive military photographic forms that are also deeply challenging to use, resistant to creative freedom and are just plain difficult. I am not sure why I find this resistance fruitful – maybe it forces the artist to try harder?
In spite of the camera’s coldly brutal function, our initial test shoot in London during 2014 also revealed a type of imagery that is extremely aesthetic. Quite by accident, the device produces a beautiful monochrome tonality; human skin is rendered as a mottled patina disclosing an intimate system of body heat. Yet the camera carries a certain aesthetic violence, stripping the individual from the body and portraying a human as a mere biological trace. It does this without describing skin colour – the camera is colour-blind – registering only the contures of relative heat difference within a given scene. Mortality is foregrounded. …”

Richard Mosse. Barbican, London. 2017 p. 34-37


Richard Mosse on Incoming, a striking new installation



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