Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Photograph-like Objects

Daniel Milnor over at Shifter does these "Just Listen" pieces. It's basically a few dozen written words of context, and a 30 second clip of ambient sound.

They're interesting.

It hit me the other day that they're quite photograph-like. They embody a relatively small slice of time, in a specific place. They give you a brief, extremely limited, experience of the place at that moment in time.

There's an aspect of reality to it. That sound actually occurred there at that time. There is a literalness, a direct connection with the underlying reality of the place. A connection that a description, a poem, a painting, a drawing, cannot have, but which a photo does.

As such, they give me that same sensation of "knowing" and yet being aware that my understanding of the place in question is ludicrously limited. I feel some sort of probably false (but maybe, sometimes, profoundly real) understanding of what is going on there, what the deal is with that place, at least in some specific dimension of understanding.

You'd think film or video would be photograph-like, but I find it oddly less so. It stretches through time in a way that photographs don't. To be sure, they're rooted in the real, they are limited, they give a probably false feeling of getting it, but I feel like they're different. Possibly a really perfect short clip? But then, aren't we pretty much making a photograph?

So, Milnor's "Just Listen" seems to be a fundamentally different thing, which is nonetheless somehow the same thing, as a photograph.

What else is like this?

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