DANIEL HIPOLITO

DEVELOPMENTS

NOVEMBER 18 - DECEMBER 31 

 

Civic TV Laboratories is pleased to announce an exhibition of Daniel Hipolito's Developments project, and the publication of an accompanying photography book chronicling the series, published by Civic TV Laboratories & the FIU-Texas.  At the close of the exhibition's opening reception Hipolito will perform his sound project Smokey Emery. A digital copy of the publication and the accompanying text can be seen below, copies of the book may be ordered through Civic TV by emailing us here or purchased at the gallery.

INSTALLATION IMAGES

SMOKEY EMERY PERFORMANCE IMAGES

SMOKEY EMERY PERFORMANCE VIDEO

FROM THE PUBLICATION: DEVELOPMENTS - DANIEL HIPOLITO

A CIVIC TV LABORATORIES & FIU-TEXAS PUBLICATION

PUBLICATION TEXT BY TERRY SUPREAN

      Developments is an Instagram-native media project created by Daniel Hipolito in 2015 as part of the group exhibition, "Institute Of Desktop Archaeology", which was curated by Katie Rose Pipkin at the Museum Of Human Achievement in Austin, Texas.  For the exhibition, “castoff” computers were donated for the artists’ use.  Hipolito was given an ASUS tablet with a malfunctioning gyroscope, which caused the camera to often produce photos and videos sideways. The tablet also lacked an internal battery and would shut off after brief periods of use, requiring access to a public outlet for photographing outdoors.  

      As evident in the subject matter of the hundreds of photographs in this enormous series (which spans over 3 years), the driving conceptual force behind the project was to capture the elements and themes of urban development via the tablet’s camera and to post the images online to via the tablet’s Instagram app.  Figuring prominently in these ghostly, immediate, impressionistic, and flawed photographs are the unseen spaces, structures, and apparatuses upon which urban life is built, monitored, and controlled: security cameras, landscaping, construction equipment and its by-products, helicopters, commercial and residential development, advertising and signage, transit, and traffic are captured here without the use of filters, often while in motion, and in a manner that does not attempt to hide the harsh treatment of light and shadow low resolution hyper-mini digital cameras etch into pixels.  The images in “Developments” capture something true and horrific about high-capitalism’s built world. They are an odd twist on Susan Sontag’s idea of the “Melancholy Object”, best described by herself in On Photography:

      “A capitalist society requires a culture based on images. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetize the injuries of class, race, and sex.  And it needs to gather unlimited amounts of information, the better to exploit natural resources, increase productivity, keep order, make war, give jobs to bureaucrats. The camera's twin capacities, to subjectivise reality and to objectify it, ideally serve these needs and strengthen them. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers). The production of images also furnishes a ruling ideology. Social change is replaced by a change in images. The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself. The narrowing of free political choice to free economic consumption requires the unlimited production and consumption of images.”  

      As that the security camera and helicopter figure so prominently in the Developments series, which is also full of images of the very things these cameras photograph, Hipolito takes part in a kind of meta-surveillance of both the mechanisms of control (the security camera and helicopter) and that which is controlled—which in turn is also that which the control was created to protect (the built world of high-capitalism, the regal cloak of the world’s empire).  The digital distortion and formal “wrongness” of the photographs, as well as the mass-production and proliferation of them, further attest to Sontag’s critique of the sinister side of capitalist society’s need for massive amounts of photographic information.  Traditionally the photographer-as-artist must obsess over every detail within a photograph, a time-consuming and production-limiting ritual that at times adopts the language of painting to assign a higher market value to a photograph through an allusion to traditional Western ideas of craft.  In Hipolito’s series the allusion to craft is completely banished, and what is left is raw production, a personal ritualization, a making of himself into a human security camera in order to better see the confines of our developed world.  They are also quite beautiful images in a way that defies our traditional understanding of such.

      Hipolito returned the ASUS tablet and continued the project with a donated iPad.  After the iPad broke, he began (and continues) to use a series of low-cost smartphones. He moved to Los Angeles in 2015, which provided a new and very fertile environment for the series to continue. His project can be seen on Instagram under the name @developments_.

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