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This misery of light ‐ light as destruction in the work of Lina Selander

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In this article I look at two works by Swedish video artist Lina Selander and explore how underlying visual patterns unfold in these works that are connected to certain worldly phenomena. Borrowing from Jacques Derrida, I describe the tendency of being en mal d'archive as an obsession to structure the world into particular recognizable patterns. I argue that Selander's works can be understood as the unfolding of such structures, the result being that the very impulse itself, the obsession Derrida speaks of, comes to the forefront. In several of Selander's works, light is explored both as a basis and prerequisite for photography and as a metaphor for this potentially destructive desire for all-encompassing knowledge and structure. As such, I argue, the unfolding that takes place in her works can be understood as paradoxically increasing the shadows ‐ as a way of undoing the totalizing effect of light and articulating modes of not knowing or mystery in relation to the phenomena explored.
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Keywords: Lina Selander; archive; destruction; light; photography; unfolding

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000109435738 Gothenburg University

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • Philosophy of Photography is a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of photography. It is not committed to any one notion of photography nor, indeed, to any particular philosophical approach. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for debate on theoretical issues arising from the historical, political, cultural, scientific and critical matrix of ideas, practices and techniques that may be said to constitute photography as a multifaceted form. In a contemporary context remarkable for its diversity and rate of change, the conjunction of the terms 'philosophy' and 'photography' in the journal's title is intended to act as a provocation to serious reflection on the ways in which existing and emergent photographic discourses might engage with and inform each other.
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