INTERNET GOTHIC in Doug Rickard’s ‘N.A.’ | AMERICAN SUBURB X
Horrorcore, a sort of contemporary American gothic, with all the inherent inversion of values.
INTERNET GOTHIC and Transcendentalism in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
By Owen Campbell, ASX, January 2015
In the preface of National Anthem Doug Rickard quotes Walt Whitman; in the coda he quotes Woodie Guthrie. Following the preface, an introductory text written by Annie Gårlid, remixes the lyrics of cell-phone rap videos from YouTube. Written in white letters on a black background and arranged in stanzas over two pages, the lyrics detail guns, gold teeth, bones and haunted houses. With verbal reference, the introduction makes explicit what the images that follow can only suggest, spectral aura of blighted America.
What follows Gårlid’s verse is a combination of the street photography of Robert Frank and Gary Winogrand, who travelled the country to create a portrait of a lonely, harsh land with the rephotography and appropriation of Richard Prince. Rickard, though, travels the country without leaving his house. His earlier work, A New American Picture, is a collection of rephotography taken from Google Street View images of American cities like Memphis, Detroit, Fresno, New Orleans and the Bronx.
Abandoned is the word typically deployed to describe these parts of America, yet the first premise of National Anthem is that the places shown are not, in fact, abandoned; they’re merely populated by people without agency, castaways from the middle and upper-class projects of narrative self-representation. The self-representations of the disenfranchised are scattered across mediums with low-publicity and low-barriers to entry, like YouTube, where they exist with a minimum of cross-reference and dialogue, connected by the whims of the algorithms that create the links between them. Rickard takes stills from YouTube, freezes them and rephotographs them. The result is remarkable, atmospheric street photography for the era where everything has already been photographed and selection rivals original documentation.
Site du photographe : ▻http://www.dougrickard.com
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