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Images without Black

Leaving Leningrad (1989-2003)
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When I returned to Leningrad in 1989 after nine-year absence and immigration I found my old house in ruins. Everything was in a state of sad disrepair: the neo-Baroque façade and the socialist inner yard with the "black entrance" that led to our communal apartment. Only when I pulled out my camera to take a picture I discovered graffiti "death" on the rusting pipe.
Later I found out that they were making a film in my half-demolished yard about the absurdist poet Daniil Kharms whose books were illustrated by Vladimir Tatlin. I still don't know whether the graffiti was a part of the movie set or a work of an anonymous author.

Description: Originals are printed on ordinary printer paper, U.S. letter size, “draft quality.” In the light they look semitransparent and can be hung on a string.

I made these prints in 2003 using an old printer. It operated with two cartridges, black and color. Once late at night I ran out of black ink and there was no way for me to replace it. I resorted to old-fashioned methods, spanking the printer several times--first gently and then a little less so. What followed was a sudden outburst of color, as if the printer’s unconsciousness came spilling out. The euphoria of liberation was short-lived. I fed the remains of my “draft quality” paper into the printer until its last breath. At that moment, broken-tech art was born.

I was unable to duplicate this process. New printers do not allow you to print images without black, thus eliminating the possibility of this kind of broken tech art.

Disclaimer: For the website I rephotographed the prints, but the color, the result of technical error, defied the multiple choices of Photoshop.





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