Friday, November 29, 2013

The Holy Bible reinterpreted as a photo book.

An article in LensCulture asserts that "it seems impossible to avoid confronting this difficult and provocative work." Any tampering with the Bible is bound to be provocative. It comes with the territory. The work in question is called simply "Holy Bible."

Time Magazine has called "Holy Bible" one of the best photo books of 2013. The original Holy Bible, of course, was not a photo book. This "Holy Bible" is an appropriation and reinterpretation by the artist duo of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Charnarin, who have reproduced the look and feel of the text and layout of the King James Version. They have inserted images over the biblical text and they have underlined in red some of the passages. The images, not their own, were selected from The Archive of Modern Conflict, reputed to be the largest photographic collection of its kind in the world.

Conflict is a primary theme of this work of art, which is based on the writings of Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir. Ophir's central tenet is that "God reveals himself predominantly through catastrophe and that power structures within the Bible correlate with those within modern systems of governance." (see Mack books.)

Broomberg and Charnarin are no strangers to conflict. According to a bio in Nowness, they "have frequently imperiled and enlightened themselves in the name of art, "including "by joining the British Army in Afghanistan." The artists, whose work leans toward documentary photography, have a curiously unique combination of qualifications: Broomberg has degrees in sociology and history of art and Chanarin degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence.

The only text added to the original King James Version text is a short essay by Adi Ophir, appended as an epilogue. It's provocative title is "Divine Violence." To read the essay, click here

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