Your Master Is Calling

What is the media image? Produced at a specific time and place, it is for all intents and purposes the signifier of a subjective context made ‘tangible’ and ‘real’ – the document of an event. The question that would logically follow therefore would be: What does it mean to view the image of an event you were not present at, no less a media image that is bound up in modes of dissemination and reproduction that are as obscure as the decision making processes which ensure their global distribution – furtively laying the foundations for a transcultural memory of that which for most of its’ spectators, never directly occurred? This is a form of haunting and that is the fact of the matter that lies at the heart of the hybrid and experimental formwork of  ‘It’s the Image – not the Images’. For the media image is never present on its’ own, it is always the cinematic crux of a heterogeneous semiotic hierarchy of meaning that includes a multitude of sensory engagements and which is always subject to a planned obsolescence that is as fast s a flash of lightning, no sooner has the image appeared before another signifier has taken its’ place – a ghostly and ubiquitous network of ephemeral spectacles that is at the heart of the ecology of everyday visual experience. It is in certain ways that which Marguerite Duras called a Master Image. –  a visual object which “could be indefinitely superimposed on a series of texts, an image that would have no meaning in itself, that would be neither beautiful nor ugly, which would take its meaning only from the text that passes over it.” How is the field of photography to respond to this as the point of no return has well and truly been passed and any attempts to reverse such a reality would be in vain – we are all lost in this ambivalent spectacle in one way or another. Perhaps, it is not the event itself that is documented in this mutation of the Master Image, but rather, the lead-up to it and any form of response would have to take that into consideration, and this is what you will view on the t-shirts enclosed in this handsome package – a response. This Photobook treats the viewer’s gaze at this image as the new dematerialised art object and in so doing, hones in on the process of deconstruction already present within the image itself. This idiosyncratic format would then be the direct response to a mainstream culture that formidably resists value, meaning and narrative whilst propelling itself forwards at breakneck speeds.. Ultimately, ‘It’s The Image, Not The Images’ is not a Photobook, It is the Photobook that is already here in the margins of our visual perception and awareness, and paradoxically, it is also the Photobook to come.

John H. Phillipakis – London, March 2020


It is The Image / Not The Images

– Four silkscreened shirts
– Sizes: S – M – L – XL
– A5 postcard
– Packaged in black silkscreened A3 sized box
– Edition: 10

Concept and design by Matt Plezier