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  • “The Analogue”: Conceptual Connotations of a Historical Medium

    Sara Callahan

    Chapter from the book: Petersson, S et al. 2018. The Power of the In-Between: Intermediality as a Tool for Aesthetic Analysis and Critical Reflection.


    This essay considers how a number of artworks mobilize what is tentatively termed “the analogue.” “The analogue” highlights artistic practices that implicitly or explicitly evoke themes and concepts associated with analogue photography. The essay argues that the so-called digital turn opens the possibility of tapping into analogue photography as a conceptual and cultural sensitivity distinguishable from the technique. It is the discourse of analogue photography that is key, not the technological process itself—therefore “the analogue” can be evoked also in works that are produced digitally. The essay explores how “the analogue” can be a productive way of analyzing specific artworks by artists such as Lotta Antonsson, Brian Ganter, Joachim Koester, Zoe Leonard, Vera Lutter, Joel Sternfeld, and Akram Zaatari. Contemporary artworks located within a postconceptual tradition can be said to have a built-in self- reflexive relationship to medium whereby the method and technique of production are always intimately intertwined with the artwork’s content and meaning. With that in mind, this paper shows how the selected artworks can be analyzed precisely in terms of this interplay between medium as technique and medium as concept and content. The essay adapts and modifies the analytical tools of intermediality to fit the specific conditions of contemporary photographic practices among artists, and shows that the artists considered in the text evoke both the documentary, evidentiary connotations of the medium and the more associative, material, and mystical implications. The essay is a first attempt to put “the analogue” to work as an intermedial concept to analyze how meaning is generated in a specific subset of photographic practices among contemporary artists.

    How to cite this chapter
    Callahan, S. 2018. “The Analogue”: Conceptual Connotations of a Historical Medium. In: Petersson, S et al (eds.), The Power of the In-Between. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/baq.l

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Sept. 27, 2018


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