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Fiction Envisaging Reality

By Rhizome

New York-based Canadian artist Nancy Davenport has been exploring photography's medium-specificity through a series of computer-manipulated photos that challenge the illusion of the real embedded within the photographic document. In 2001, for example, her exhibition 'The Apartments,' presented at New York's Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery one week before 9/11, stormed the international art scene, as it included a group of pictures of fictionalized bomb attacks on modernist architectural edifices, and thus prompted the uncanny feeling that fiction was envisaging reality. Currently, Davenport is completing her latest project, 'Workers,' that is on the checklist of the upcoming Istanbul Biennial. Evoking the famous early film in the history of cinema, the Lumiere Brothers's 1895 'Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory,' Davenport's installation consists of a multi-screen DVD environment depicting a factory and portraits of sets of both Norwegian blue-collar workers and their out-sourced Chinese counterparts. Referencing nineteenth-century technology yet using more recent image-making techniques, Davenport thus examines the politics of representation within contemporary digital culture. Selecting as her subject matter the global economy, with its never-ending flux of capital, goods, and labor, the artist’s output hits a higher tone, as it reflects a facet of everyday life that often defines our age. - Miguel Amado

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