Mishka Henner

Mishka Henner, Dutch Landscapes, 2011

Henner explora de formas distintas el estatus actual de la fotografía y los medios. Utiliza Google Earth a la caza de parcelas censuradas y vedadas a la curiosidad del público, y por tanto más interesantes y misteriosas. Le interesa la visión controlada y manipulada del «atlas» por parte del poder. Google oculta espacios que los gobiernos no quieren que se vean y Henner los utiliza para su obra.

Dutch Landscapes [Paisajes holandeses] (2011) es una versión moderna de un género consolidado: una serie de paisajes fotografiados por satélite y censurados por las autoridades, que esconden lugares significativos como palacios reales, depósitos de combustible y cuarteles del ejército a lo largo del país.

When Google introduced its free satellite imagery service to the world in 2005, views of our planet only previously accessible to astronauts and surveyors were suddenly available to anyone with an internet connection. Yet the vistas revealed by this technology were not universally embraced.

Governments concerned about the sudden visibility of political, economic and military locations exerted considerable influence on suppliers of this imagery to censor sites deemed vital to national security. This form of censorship continues today and techniques vary from country to country with preferred methods generally including use of cloning, blurring, pixelization, and whitening out sites of interest.

Surprisingly, one of the most vociferous of all governments to enforce this form of censorship were the Dutch, hiding hundreds of significant sites including royal palaces, fuel depots and army barracks throughout their relatively small country. The Dutch method of censorship is notable for its stylistic intervention compared to other countries; imposing bold, multi-coloured polygons over sites rather than the subtler and more standard techniques employed in other countries. The result is a landscape occasionally punctuated by sharp aesthetic contrasts between secret sites and the rural and urban environments surrounding them.

In the original book of this series, these interventions are presented alongside physical alterations made to the Dutch landscape through a vast land reclamation project that began in the 16th Century and is ongoing. A third of the Netherlands lies below sea level and the dunes, dykes, pumps, and drainage networks engineered over hundreds of years have dramatically shaped the country’s landscape, providing it with huge swathes of arable land that would otherwise be submerged.

Seen from the distant gaze of Earth’s orbiting satellites, the result is a landscape unlike any other; one in which polygons recently imposed on the landscape to protect the country from an imagined human menace bear more than a passing resemblance to a physical landscape designed to combat a very real and constant natural threat.

Mishka Henner

Dutch Landscapes, 2011
Archival pigment prints, variable dimensions.
Softcover print-on-demand book, 10×8 inches (25×20 cm), 106 pag.

Mishka Henner, Photography Is, 2010

Photography Is, 2010
Dimensions: 5.5×8.5 inches (13.97×21.59cm) | B&W text, 200 pgs
First Edition printed in March, 2010.
Second Edition printed in May, 2012

Photography Is presents more than 3,000 phrases that define one of the most democratic and ubiquitous of all art forms. Mirroring the ambiguous and untrustworthy nature of photographs themselves, each phrase in this book has been torn from the context in which it originally appeared. The result is contradictory and chaotic, frustrating and insightful. In short, it is photography, without photographs.

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