“Black Well & Photography”

Thierry Maindrault’s monthly column

We have all, at one time or another, heard of the countless, invisible black holes that are believed to represent most of the supposed mass of our known universe. These phenomena are distinguished by the lack of light that characterizes them. For the lovers of light that we are, it should be noted that the plausible explanation is the absorption and concentration of matter at a speed greater than that of light. Strange signature that which is supposed to exist without being visible, Saint Thomas, is not far away! There are a lot of quirks that are only supposed, with activity; but whose effects and effective interest are measured after many uncertainties. As an aside, we have just learned that one of these secrets – black holes – would have been, for the first time, photographed by the last telescopic jewel sent into space a few days ago. Long live photography that captures the total disappearance of light!

It is somewhat in the same order of ideas that blockchains were created, a kind of completely dematerialized system which makes it possible to transmit or lock more or less confidential information on a dedicated digital line. The system includes types of spaces that allow the average individual to perform miraculous operations. The interest of this operational system, only behind a screen, lies in the pseudo anonymity of the operations carried out in the maze of the circuit and outside the natural or social organizations of the planet. The first implementation and already operational, is undoubtedly the creation of artificial digital currencies. These jewels (Bitcoin, Ether and Co.) must allow exchanges (barter type) more flexible and without any constraint (except the memorization of an essential password). You know the rest of the story, it’s one of the most incredible speculations, so dizzying and absolutely irrational that the current scams risk upsetting the psychological order of humanity.

This little foreword seemed essential to me to get into the mood and understand what the photographic work is doing in this mess full of holes. The NFT (non-fungible token) makes it possible to really identify a virtual digital set (virtual being used out of its meaning, I prefer impalpable). Business, business, everyone (money and speculation, of course) is rushing and ecstatic in front of this novelty which will bring down from heaven (that of God the Father) a long-awaited manna. The serious drawback is that pecuniary abundance does not come from hard work; but, of a total speculation. The top that amuses me is the arrival in this circuit of virtual bottles of wine in circulation which see their price go beyond credible limits, without themselves leaving the screen. This saves those precious elusive vials from being smashed, heated up and shaken. The initiator promises that real bottles will replace these imaginary clones before they die out.

Contemporary creations have not escaped this reductive wave. Photography hastened to try to conquer the first place (as if in the imagination and the fantasy, the number of places was limited!). Many pseudo-creators who do not have enough confidence in their work to confront it to the public have rushed into this magical universe. A file of the photograph is installed on a server (actually a large number) and this file is locked by a code which allows the holder of the access code to claim ownership of this work. Remember that this photograph is totally immaterial and can only be imagined through the interface of a screen. I let you imagine how the little creative genius who does not already have a good command of a camera will be able to master blockchains. And the safety rules? Who retains moral rights? How many originals in the global computer mess? How can transfers and possible uses be guaranteed? How to avoid piracy, which are also forms of creation by people much more gifted than most authors of photographs with uncertain works? Who determines the real interest of this or that creation? Etc. We already see so much of everything in today’s materialized images, I let you imagine the misery of this inexorable race to the bottom. The upward attraction is limited to bank accounts (fortunately often also fictitious), of gifted leaders.

To conclude, the origin of this chronicle came to me from a friend who has a fifteen-year-old son and who discovered by chance the feverish activity of this adolescent. After conducting a small investigation and talking with his offspring, he discovered that the latter had become a knowledgeable specialist in the NFT Art market. This budding broker buys regularly and with financial discernment, fictitious works (street graffiti, photographs, drawings, etc.) from authors in search of recognition, to resell them, at the latest within two months, by multiplying the prices by three. As you understood, the operation is done only by code transfer. Anything to anyone, anywhere at any price.

What dreamy and ambitious world is that of connected digitization? I don’t even mention the DarkNet (the dark side of things).

Thierry MaindraultJune 17, 2022

your comments on this chronicle and its photography are always welcome [email protected]

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