“The media has its own ideology and we tend to accept it in an uncritical fashion because we are so exposed to it. The more we are exposed to it, the more invisible it becomes.”
In our media-saturated society, we accept that television shows and films follow certain pre-determined conventions, but we do not relate such conventions with the television news image. According to artist and media theorist, Kenneth Feinstein, we believe news images to be faithful reflections of reality when they have, in reality, gone through many levels of filtering and mediation. In an interview with this writer, he explains more about the inspiration and intention behind “Telegeneric Realities”, his first solo exhibition in Singapore.
BT: What inspired the photo collages of Telegeneric Realities?
KF: I have always been interested in how images are created and presented to the public. After moving to Singapore, I became fascinated with how much the different networks look the same. The uniformity of image and the sharing of source footage interested me. Having been trained as a documentary film maker, I was very conscious of what the accepted rules for making TV news items are. Being trained as a philosopher and media theorist, I tend to take a critical view of what we see (on TV) and how it is presented. Finding our depiction of so-called “reality” to be fairly universal prompted me to create a body of work that emphasised this aspect of our viewing life.
BT: It is interesting that transient screen shots are given permanence in the form of a photo collage. Is there an underlying message?
KF: What I want to get across in this series is the interchangeability of details of the images found on television news. The people on camera or the place where an event happens may constantly change, but the basic images conform to preset conventions. This is why people are removed from the images and a lighter trace of them remains. In the sports images for example, both the car and the tennis players are removed to emphasise the point that the image is fixed and who is on the screen does not matter. As video artist Nam June Paik once said, “Television is like a constantly flowing stream. As the river flows, it does not care much about any particular rock.”