Saturday, January 28, 2017

Don Santo has finally exported the file to a specific location. This means that the copy finally has been installed and saved. However, Don Santo’s manual hides the complicated process of how the copy becomes an original copy. In fact, it makes it look so simple and easy. The reason for this is that Don Santo does not trust the users’ judgement in front of the facts, for the same reason why H. Bhabha criticizes Said’s orientalism. In his essay “The Other Question” Bhabha states that in order to understand and access the Colonial Discourse we need to understand the evidence for its subjectivity and effectivity. We can not criticize the evidence based on its positive or negative aspects, because this will eliminate the only evidence to access the Colonial Discourse. It is our moral right to denounce colonization but when we talk about discourse we need to maintain neutrality.[1] Don Santo knows well that there is the possibility that the viewer might accuse and denounce the evidence because it is too cruel or harsh. This will close the door to the world of the copy and will leave out the opportunity to liberate the copy from the original. Don Santo is also concerned that the bigger software might want to silence the copy by eliminating the evidence. “The Church had to mark off its borders and defend the monopoly it claimed against occasionally disquieting forms of appropriation.”[2] During the colonial period, the Church already knew that the local knowledge could inform the image or object in a way they could have not controlled later. For instance “At the end of the eighteen century, an image discovered in a hacienda of Queretaro region ‘monstrously’ portrayed the Holy Trinity as a head with three faces, “with four eyes, three noses, three mouths and three beards, the body that of the Father while the head was that of that Son”[3]

Figure 1: Three-Faced Trinity. C. 1750-70. Oil on Canvas.
Obviously this was a literal interpretation of the global knowledge through the lenses of the local knowledge. This is the kind of noise that the Church wanted to silence. Similar to the church, Bigger Software is also afraid of the artist’s intuition. One form of silencing these copies was by labeling them as illegal or blasphemous. “In order to temper this omnipresence of the image, the baroque church began to oppose both illicit uses and profane misappropriations with increasing firmness…”[4] Another example of the fear towards the intuition or metis can be seen in the use of postcards in Jamaica. In 1902 it was forbidden to write a message on the back of the postcard so people wrote their message on the front of the image; on top of the picturesque landscape. As Susan Stewart mentions, the combination of the message with the image made the postcard look more personal and less global. It was a re-appropriation of the local landscape and an appropriation of the exotic.[5] However, later history books of postcards eliminated the personal messages written on the postcard, with the purpose to get a clear view of the actual object, ignoring that erasing the marks of the postcard was also erasing the trajectory of the object.[6] But if we look at the path of the object from a neutral position and copy it without judging any scratch that the object obtained over time, we are going to access the object through its trajectory, motives, and encounters that it had at a local level.

[1] Bhabha, Homi K. 1994. The location of culture. London: Routledge. 72.

[2] Gruzinski, Serge, and Heather MacLean. 2001. Images at war: Mexico from Columbus to Blade Runner (1492-2019). Durham: Duke University Press. 163.
[3] Ibid., 164.
[4] Ibid., 163.
[5] Jay, Martin, and Sumathi Ramaswamy. 2014. Empires of vision: a reader. 477.

[6] Jay, Martin, and Sumathi Ramaswamy. 2014. Empires of vision: a reader. 486.

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