From his films Empire (2002) and Anticultural Positions (2009) to a variety of his modes of drawing, a singular concentration on the photographic negative can be found throughout Paul Sietsema's artistic practice. Rather than grounding a medium, Baker argues, the location of photography's logic in the negative preserves the photograph as a space of reversal and inversion, a deep and powerful force of negation rather than a servant of the real. To return, as Sietsema does, to this history and to such processes now, after they have run their course, seems to insist on the negative as a kind of literal afterimage, and also, potentially, as an open image, considering how the negative transmutes the density of the world into transparency, inhabiting a space between the object and the image, the middle point between camera and print, a “medium” in the true but irremediably hybrid sense of the word.

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