Steven (Mr.) Pippin
Notes de mon entretien avec Steven Pippin le 18 juin 2011, à Strasbourg.
His start: his father (engineer, doing photos, developing in bathtub); it was more exciting than the images.
Nothing was interesting to be photographed. Saturated with images. Find an alternative way: make cameras, then look for an interesting subject to photograph. Make a camera specific to what is photographed: the fridge, the bathtub. What to photograph: don’t know, so things related to pinhole itself.
Dead-end point: could not progress, it had become a trick.
Other machines (fax), work connected to photo but different.
The camera recording itself.
Use as a closed loop (like Fax 69 or Quantum camera). Bachelor machines. Self-enclosed, also development.
I set fire to a camera, it melts, last image (6’).
Also image of the bullet frozen, lead to his present work.
Complete reversal of the normal way of using cameras.
Idea of a close loop, the machines live by themselves, bachelor machines, not producing anything; the most perfect way to work with these objects. The camera does not make a picture of anything.
The camera (or the process) is the subject itself of the artistic reflection, it is auto-reflective, self reflective.
All the photographs in the world are already there. Going in the opposite direction.
Everything is a camera; rebellion against technology. Process very important, procedures documented, very tangible.
Big bang, expansion, his work with the balance of a pencil.
Interest for process, how does it work (magical?). The process counts more than the subject. The photo is a proof of the process. Showing the “how to” and the result together.
The photographic art is a performance (e.g. his erection for Laundromat); lots of work.
Photo as cleaning, aseptic (washing machine vs toilets).
(Details about washing machine) His film as a failure.
Photography has become cleaner: do things that are dirty, going around that.
Interest for history of photography, for the pioneers (Bayard), create new sequences for Muybridge (implicit sexuality: erection, walking backward).
Influences on him: Gordon Matta-Clark, John Hilliard (his experiments), Gursky. Doesn’t know Mulas, nor Gioli.
But most photography today is so bad it puts you off.
Writers: Barthes, Sontag, Benjamin. Doesn’t know Flusser.
Destruction, violence to interrupt the infinite sequence of possible photographs.
Obsolescence of photography? Death of photography.
Failure of this project, using something obviously violent, using a gun (I never did before). Not at ease with violence; trying to make it less violent.
Wasn’t aware of Chéroux before (Shoot), just met him and discovered his work the day before.
Images burned, exploded.
It is controlled up to a point. Strict procedure, but how will it work? Will the film be completely destroyed ? I am persistent until I get results.
Relation with work on TV machines, the earth? Working now on pencil project. Some crossover.
Does not teach. Taught once in Canada.