Matthew Tischler‘s ‘Screen Series’ photos are an attempt to describe how we create natural environments in a globalised and increasingly urbanised world. Shot through window screens, netting and scrims, Tischler has broken down everyday spaces, ordinary pictures into pixellated images that look more like CCTV colour footage than anything else. He has negated the human aspect of the picture in order to place it into the landscape, to create a portrait that references both video technology and painting techniques.
The result is a strange mix of dreamlike imagery and dislocation. His images a reminder that we, as a society, have embraced the world of cyberspace at the expense of the natural world. I thought I’d put in his full statement on the series as it’s worth reading:
Public Space is an exploration of the ways in which human beings create and inhabit their environments. The construction and containment of nature within our cities illustrates our desire to reorganize the physical world, replacing ecological systems with economic systems. This annexation of nature is evident in public squares, corporate plazas, shopping centers, and even on rooftops and sidewalks. People converge outside of office buildings amid artificial landscapes replete with potted trees and patches of grass. We are not only assimilating nature into our cityscapes but ourselves as well.
Our construction of environments wherein we cultivate relationships, exchange goods, circulate currency, and maintain order has expanded beyond the physical boundaries of the natural world into the realm of cyberspace. The internet has facilitated on-line communities that allow people to trade information, images, video, music, and even engage in the construction of virtual landscapes. The massive computer game culture is another example of a virtual reality phenomenon that allows individuals to participate in and/or construct actual functioning environments. This cyber Public Space mirrors that of the physical world in that commercial forces are constantly shaping both. These economic forces engage our contradictory impulses to consume and create.
The use of color in the Public Space series is meant to illustrate the artificiality of nature within a cityscape. These photographs explore our reorganization of the physical world and the ways in which we relate to our own self-constructed environments. They are meant to resemble virtual landscapes, thereby blurring the lines between physically constructed space and digitally constructed space.
The commercialization of culture and modernization of society continues to be manifested in our environment. Cities are inundated with billboards, scaffolding, shop windows, bus stops, pay phones, and construction sites. The melding of people with the advertisements, lights, signs, streets, surfaces, and reflections of urban landscapes is indicative of our collective obsession with images and fetishistic consumption of merchandise. We interact with the commercial elements of our environment on physical and emotional levels. Mannequins in store windows and photographs of models on posters often demand more of our attention than the real people around us.