Remember Me, 2000

Installation view, Shoreditch Townhall, 2000

The six faces of Remember Me were taken from the Internet, in particular from sites with pornographic content. Showing faces only, Remember Me focuses on the sexual promise that is traditionally female. The female promise is most potent when the gaze is direct and empty. The images are then a screen for the projections of the spectator; a certain emptiness is needed to evoke these projections. In a portrait of a real person the reality of that person prevents the viewer from projecting his ideas onto the image. The spectator is the creator of a desire of which he or she is at the same time the victim. Remember Me uses all the rules of photography without any representational reference to a reality (that would protect the spectator from his or her involvement) from which the photograph is taken. Now, in the desire of the spectator’s gaze distance is vanquished.

Artists like Sherrie Levine or Richard Prince re-defined photography as a medium for appropriation. With Remember Me, however, I managed to transpose the photographic practice that forms our visual reality into the wider field of digital imaging. Whereas rephotographing imposes an additional perspective onto the image, the technique I used condenses the perspective into the indeterminate nebula of the blurred face. The blurring gives an essentially different impression in comparison with an out-of-focus photograph which is still spatial. In Remember Me, the blurring is flat bringing the image’s qualities onto its surface. After having cut out the face from the downloaded picture, I reduced its resolution to a point where the characteristics of the face have almost vanished. Having done that, I used Photoshop’s bicubic interpolation feature to increase the resolution drastically. That means that only 0.001% of the dots are actually ‘real’ dots originating from the picture I downloaded from the Internet.

The title ‘Remember Me’ brings together a variety of connotations. It is left open whether it is a question (‘Do you recognise me?’) or an exclamation (‘Keep me in mind!’). In both cases it is reference to history we allegedly have forgotten about (Jameson). The loss of history corresponds to the defeat of the subject pierced by the sexual gaze of the ‘Me’ that is seducer and questioner at once. Taken individually, the faces impersonate the personality of the ‘Me’ that cannot be sustained. Taken universally, the ‘Me’ falls back onto the spectator as the creator of his own seduction.