The TC Studies
Colin Snapp’s use of popular technologies, such as video, for the reexamination of knowledge, classification and mediation, unmasks the fictive innocence of a naive, unreflective attitude—existence in the 1st-person—and reacquaints us with a world where technology relegates us to the status of objects, coexisting alongside each other in the 3rd-person, visible only by way of commercialized instruments that determine our appearance for us. The time counters at the top of the frame insist on this: the production of consciousness has become commensurate with the consciousness of production, with consumerist culture leaving no room for the apprehension of anything distinct from calculation and profit.
The TC Studies is patterned on the streamlined brands of visibility made possible by way of commercialised technologies. Reducing the telos of organic growth to a classificatory moment in time, mediation and privatization dovetail in the quantification of a moment. Confining his subject-matter to a space earmarked by a digital lens, Snapp indicates that ordinary experience has become so infiltrated with technology that even when we try to liberate ourselves from spectacular social exchanges—returning, perhaps, to original presence in “nature”—we drag time-as-value with us. This is the significance of isolating organic life to moments of appearance that are labeled and related in an almost corporate fashion.
Overlaying the TC Studies is the awareness that the classification of life in process, which reduces fluxional growth to the statistical regularity of groups and cohorts, has within itself a binary, antithetical function. On the one hand, organic life is too easily translated into the status of a keepsake, a memento, like a trinket hanging from the wrist of a tourist; on the other, the visibility of growth becomes spectacle, something utterly distanced from participatory involvement, and this by the very tools, technologies and concepts, that make development and growth subject to knowledge. The TC Studies would suggest that whenever we decide to move beyond our individual personalities, whenever we try to relate to something or someone Other, we encounter resistance in the form of mediation.
What we’re viewing in these studies is the cancellation of our aspirations and endeavors by the very technologies that make “purposefulness” visible as an object of knowledge. In effect, each image documents a moment in a continuous gesture toward an almost noumenal freedom, undocumented sites of experience unframed by mediation. Because digital video, digital photography is outwardly visible in each individual study of inflorescence, the TC Studies becomes a meditation on the limits of reflexivity. It’s as though if the camera could see itself through its own lens—“observing the observer observing,” in the words of Frank Stella —the artificial restrictions imposed on free development would fall away, permitting collective life to exist in ways that, as of yet, we have no words or concepts for.