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portrait, digital, mpeg, mpeg-4, mobile, cell, cell phone, cellular, camera phone, camera
15 December 2013
Ricardo Cedeño Montaña
(Auto-)retrato: 100 fragmentos de mi mismo
The promise of classical portraiture is the possibility of an encounter with a person or at least its persona, oscillating between empathy and distance, recognition and strangeness, liveliness and rigidity, instantaneity and timelessness. This promise is reneged on by Cedeño Montaña’s (Auto-)retrato. It consists of flickering stripes that gradually form a phantasmal face, distorted almost beyond recognition. The image is the digital montage of 100 videos taken by friends and strangers, who were asked to portray the artist according to specific parameters. A stencil compelled the sitter to relative immobility albeit allowing for a conversation. The immediacy of the encounter, however, is relegated by the omission of sound and the process of fragmentation. Cedeño Montaña thus shifts the focus from the portrayed to the (technically mediated) interrelation to the other.
What we see, is a face contemplated by 100 people over a span of time – or 100 faces at one glance. But instead of simply rising questions of identity, the work asks for the conditions of portraiture in the present age. The final cut is a hybrid between static and moving images, photomontage and video. The image is not only multiperspectival but also merges heterogeneous temporalities: the time of shooting, the time span from the first to the last video, and the duration of the video. By synchronzising the asynchronous, the portrait turns into an image-temps, defying face-to-face encounters.
Text by Dr. des. Jasmin Mersmann Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Institut für Kulturwissenschaft