Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't

2016
Screen capture video, 8'30''
Found images and captions, synthetic voice, text

Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't, screen capture video, 2016
Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't
Cool clouds [...], video stills, 2016
Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don't

In Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don’t (2016) Stefan Karrer explores digital nexuses between images and language. A cursor clicks through his personal Internet research archive of found footage cloud pictures, while a computer generated voice reads out the corresponding captions. In 1934 Walter Benjamin saw captions as the only possibility to tear photography away from fashionable clichés. Without this addition it would, regardless of the content, inevitably end up with the conclusion: “The world is beautiful.”[1] But what if the caption says as little as the image? The attributes provided by the users (cool, crazy, lonely) reveal how arbitrary the categorisation is: What exactly makes a cloud cool? The voice comments: “There lies the cool cloud casting a shadow on a crazy wave crashing on a lonely rock. There lies nature captured and captioned. There on the edge of the pool still poisoned from the night before, you would linger for hours studiously perverting your sense of beauty with criteria I can only partially reconstruct.” One and a half million search results make it possible to describe “nature”, yet the access to it remains obstructed. Now as before, images suggest a truth value, but they no longer provide a connection to the represented: “Cool clouds that look like they should be spelling something, but they don’t.”

[1] Walter Benjamin, “The Author as Producer,” New Left Review 1, no. 62, trans. John Heckman (July-August 1970 [1934]): 1–9.

Text excerpt from the exhibition catalogue Stormy Weather (Paris/Vienna, 2020)



Collections:
HEK, Haus der elektronischen Künste
videokunst.ch
dotmov.ch, SAMMLUNG NEUE MEDIEN BASELLAND

Related shows:
Songs Of The Sky. Photography & The Cloud
Stormy Weather
Stormy Weather
SITUATIONS / Foto Text Data

videokunst.ch, Showroom PROGR, Bern / Videofenster Houdini, Zürich
Die Zweite Natur
Natur – Zwischen Sehnsucht und Wirklichkeit
Screening
ATTRAKTION ?!
Kein Bild ist eine Insel - Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie