Table of Con­tents | Arti­cle doi: 10.17742/IMAGE.SA.12.1.1 | PDF

Structures of Anticipation: An Introduction

(In Mem­o­ry of Les­ley Stern)

This image is neither decorative nor strictly available for simple denotative description. Our project rejects captions altogether. The spirit of this project is very much one of uncertainty and imagination. We hope that anyone with visual impairments will glean information from the written compositions.
From the Trump­grabs series, Kate Schnei­der, 2019, Wind­sor, Ontario.1

The Project

Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion,2 a four-day mul­ti-dis­ci­pli­nary sym­po­sium and exhi­bi­tion held in Wind­sor, Ontario on 21-24 May 2019, drew many of its core ideas from engage­ment with aca­d­e­mics, arts/media the­o­reti­cians and prac­ti­tion­ers, and cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties. It was part of a series of inter­na­tion­al workshops/events held since 2014 in the US, UK, Ger­many, and Greece—the series is com­mit­ted to find­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive prac­tices between art and media prac­ti­tion­ers, aca­d­e­mics, and research stu­dents from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. The Wind­sor-based sym­po­sium and exhi­bi­tion was focused on the image-text rela­tion­ship and the cri­sis of rep­re­sen­ta­tion gen­er­at­ed by the rapid inten­si­ty of break­ing news in crit­i­cal times.

The event mobi­lized cam­era-led research cre­ation where­in cri­tique is under­stood to emerge in the encounter in which the pho­to­graph is put into con­ver­sa­tion with writ­ing. Shut­tling between image and text is a process of rec­ti­fi­ca­tion, embod­ied learn­ing, and exper­i­ment. We were inter­est­ed in address­ing the rela­tion­ship of words and images, and how these texts (framed with­in an econ­o­my of words) might be deployed as a reflex­ive pause that can help us with­stand the emo­tion­al instan­ta­ne­ity of the dig­i­tal realm.

Par­tic­i­pants in the sym­po­sium were asked to respond to the theme with­in the built envi­ron­ment of Wind­sor, Ontario—a bor­der city to Detroit that is also the busiest cross­ing in North Amer­i­ca as well as the mate­r­i­al and sym­bol­ic site of dai­ly and tense antic­i­pa­tions. Each par­tic­i­pant was asked to pro­duce five images and gen­er­ate texts of no more than one hun­dred words to accom­pa­ny each image with­in a span of 48 hours. The econ­o­my of the 100 words chal­lenged par­tic­i­pants to be care­ful with writ­ing, and to select words that mat­ter in rela­tion­ship to the image. Our method engaged with the terse genre of writ­ing found on social media sites like Twit­ter, but encour­aged reflex­iv­i­ty rather than reac­tiv­i­ty. What was left unsaid, visu­al­ized as the spaces between the words, con­tributed to the struc­ture of antic­i­pa­tion that we endeav­ored to engage. The research cre­ation process and the sym­po­sium event chal­lenged con­ven­tion­al modes of method­ol­o­gy to high­light the idea of respon­sive pro­duc­tions and con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion in the process of word-image cre­ations. Such min­i­mal­ist prac­tices, how­ev­er, also elide and invoke silences, and what is left unsaid, or the spaces between the words, is pos­si­bly where the images might compensate—or vice ver­sa. These dip­tychs3 were then dis­played in a pub­lic exhi­bi­tion on the final day of the sym­po­sium (24 May, 2019) at the SB Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery in Wind­sor.4 The pho­to-com­po­si­tions pub­lished here are part of the over­all project and rep­re­sent anoth­er stage of the process.


On the day of the instal­la­tion and just before the exhi­bi­tion was due to open, a heat­ed dis­cus­sion broke out over one par­tic­u­lar image. It is one of five images cap­tured around the theme of sur­veil­lance, and part of a sequence of pho­tographs cap­tur­ing the mate­r­i­al envi­ron­ment of secu­ri­ti­za­tion and the nor­mal­iza­tion of surveillance.

The pho­tog­ra­ph­er had cap­tured a seem­ing­ly innocu­ous image: a fig­ure of a woman cross­es the street and from an angle, as if she is being watched from behind a store win­dow or from the mov­ing car—or rather as if we—not just the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, but the view­er as well—are watch­ing her. We can­not see her clear­ly. The reflec­tions enhance the photograph’s mul­ti-lay­ered ambi­gu­i­ty in a per­fect­ly framed image. On the right are “no park­ing” and “stop” signs in a rather unas­sum­ing neigh­bour­hood. It is all grey, green, and lush but it is the figure’s cloth­ing which stands out, draws our eye towards her—her bright red and blue fab­ric attracts our imme­di­ate atten­tion as she walks across the street.

An objec­tion arises—she is clear­ly not white; she wears a hijab—she is iden­ti­fied (by the objec­tor) as a Muslim—is the pho­tog­ra­ph­er cod­ing her into a trope of racial anx­i­ety in their work on sur­veil­lance? The objector—who is not a participant—continues argu­ing: should this pho­to­graph be includ­ed? Does this fig­ure know she is being stereo­typed, uneth­i­cal­ly used, and appro­pri­at­ed in an exhi­bi­tion orga­nized by aca­d­e­mics and the cul­tur­al class? This fig­ure is with­out voice or representation—she is once again Gay­a­tri Spivak’s sub­al­tern who can­not speak. There are no objec­tions made of oth­er pho­tographs with non-vis­i­ble minor­i­ty peo­ple in them.

We the cura­tors let the pho­to­graph stand. The text which accom­pa­nied the pho­to­graph had addressed an aspect of uneasy sur­veil­lance anx­i­eties in a broad­er environment—which was the gen­er­al sub­ject of the series. More in order to affect this cri­tique, the image in ques­tion was extract­ed from its con­text. The pho­tog­ra­ph­er and writer had pro­duced a series of five dip­tychs, and viewing/reading them togeth­er pro­duces an alto­geth­er dif­fer­ent effect than the iso­la­tion of this sin­gle woman. In this series, win­dows, reflec­tions and dis­tor­tions repeat, under­scor­ing that we are look­ing at framed scenes (imply­ing exclu­sions) and that these scenes high­light their medi­a­tion, as opposed to mak­ing a claim for any easy sense of doc­u­men­tary real­ness. The pho­to­graph most “in focus” (from anoth­er of the dip­tychs) depicts a stat­ue of the Vir­gin Mary, the bril­liant reds and blues from her garb res­onat­ing with the reds and blues from the con­test­ed image. The Vir­gin Mary image’s accom­pa­ny­ing text tells of her replace­ment by new­er gods of sur­veil­lance. The image that fol­lows Mary in this sequence is, in fact, the image of the anony­mous woman. What dif­fer­ence might it make to con­sid­er these images and texts in con­ver­sa­tion with each other?

What of the woman in the pho­to­graph? We do not even know if she is Mus­lim or South Asian or African. She becomes an abstract fig­ure re-cod­ed into the anx­i­eties of our time, “the dis­mal future” that writes the “anx­ious present” (Lewis and Sigg)5—reduced to a polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion insert­ed into white saviourism—taken beyond the image into the echo cham­bers of white guilt and feel­ings of moral cer­tain­ty. The last thing the fig­ure is accord­ed is the priv­i­lege of being giv­en the same con­sid­er­a­tion (or non-con­sid­er­a­tion) as oth­ers cap­tured in such instances, as part of a visu­al lex­i­con that allows us to read beyond exist­ing cat­e­gories. Her abstrac­tion as vic­tim is also an abstrac­tion by those who inhab­it privilege—speaking-for is also a prob­lem­at­ic ren­der­ing of the Oth­er as voice­less and there­fore com­mits a sim­i­lar act of stereo­typ­ing and con­tem­po­rary ori­en­tal­ism. The fig­ure here is wrenched beyond the image and insert­ed into the dis­cours­es of our frac­tious world—she becomes hyper-oth­er­ized beyond and against her knowledge—enmeshed into our con­tem­po­rary moral uni­verse that res­onates with the emo­tion­al tem­per­a­tures of these polit­i­cal times. The con­tem­po­rary semi­otic field is an anx­ious one, pul­sat­ing with antic­i­pa­to­ry inten­si­ties that dis­solve and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ossi­fy rights and wrongs. Our see­ing no longer dis­tan­ti­ates us from the image or its tex­tu­al com­po­si­tion here but is enfold­ed into our affec­tive being.

We accept that we sim­ply can­not dis­miss the con­cerns of the ethics of pho­tograph­ing the oth­er – and the object­ing par­ty had every right to voice their con­cerns. How­ev­er, the sit­u­a­tion and the ensu­ing dis­cus­sion also raised many inter­est­ing ques­tions for us and we felt that this par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion also high­light­ed what we were try­ing to do in set­ting up the four-day research cre­ation process. Could we sit in this space of unease, what Don­na Har­away calls ‘stay­ing with the trou­ble’?6

If we were to find some con­cep­tu­al fram­ing to the research cre­ation exer­cise, it would be in the Pro­voke pho­tog­ra­phy move­ment and Japan­ese image the­o­ry of the 1960s. Japan­ese image the­o­ry, its ideas and prac­tices, emerged in a time of height­ened stu­dent protests, charged polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances and Cold War anx­i­eties in Japan. Influ­enced by per­for­mance art, film-mak­ers such as Oshi­ma Nag­isa and Mat­sumo­to Toshio, as well as Euro­pean phi­los­o­phy, the Pro­voke col­lec­tive sought to find and cul­ti­vate a new pho­to­graph­ic con­scious­ness in those tur­bu­lent conditions.

The Camera as a Gathering Apparatus

In 1958, the avant-garde film-mak­er Mat­sumo­to Toshio – moved by Robert Hes­sens’ and Alain Resnais’ 1950 doc­u­men­tary, Guer­ni­ca – wrote his influ­en­tial essay, “A The­o­ry of Avant Garde Doc­u­men­tary,” to cri­tique what he saw as the for­mal­ist-pop­ulist real­ism method of doc­u­men­tary films.7 In his essay, Mat­sumo­to addressed the chang­ing social and polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances in post-war Japan and argued for a new real­ism in which the doc­u­men­tary genre should embrace a more avant-garde sen­si­bil­i­ty that ques­tioned the rela­tion­ship between the uncon­scious and exte­ri­or real­i­ty in doc­u­ment­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the “as-yet-unde­vel­oped world.”

The essay had a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the Japan­ese arts and media community—especially in pho­tog­ra­phy. Pub­lished nine years before Roland Barthes’ 1967 essay, “Death of the Author,” Mat­sumo­to had explored the role of the artist-creator’s sub­jec­tive con­scious­ness in dialec­ti­cal rela­tion to the mate­r­i­al world.8 He felt that doc­u­men­tary real­ism was dom­i­nat­ed by the all-con­sum­ing ego of the cul­tur­al cre­ator. His argu­ment for the “mate­ri­al­ist self-dis­so­lu­tion” of the human sub­ject or the “the author him- or her­self” as social phe­nom­e­non in the the­o­ret­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal fram­ing of doc­u­men­tary work influ­enced one of the most sig­nif­i­cant post-war pho­tog­ra­phy move­ments, Pro­voke (1968-1970).9

Often asso­ci­at­ed with the pho­tog­ra­phy of Moriya­ma Dai­do, the Pro­voke col­lec­tive of pho­tog­ra­phers and writ­ers appeared most active from 1968 to 1970, hav­ing pub­lished only three jour­nals. The exchange among those involved, often influ­enced by anti-war pol­i­tics and Marxism—including artists and academics—span over a decade from 1966 to the mid 1970s. Influ­enced by the site-spe­cif­ic protest-inspired per­for­mance col­lec­tives of the 1960s in Japan, such as Zero Jigen and Hi-Red Cen­ter, Pro­voke emerged in a time of social and polit­i­cal unrest with a pho­tog­ra­phy man­i­festo that chal­lenged the hege­mon­ic struc­tures of the times.10 Their off-kil­ter, grainy, blurry—or are, bure, boke—images11 aimed to con­front and dis­turb the pre-exist­ing con­cep­tu­al expec­ta­tions of pho­to­graph­ic and doc­u­men­tary real­ism in an urban­scape of erupt­ing social chaos.12 From uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus­es and stu­dent bar­ri­cades to the streets of Shin­juku, there were out­breaks of protests and social rebel­lion that were impos­si­ble to cap­ture with con­ven­tion­al pho­to­graph­ic meth­ods. How did you doc­u­ment the dynamism of such tumul­tuous ener­gy dur­ing a time of rapid social changes? The Pro­voke Man­i­festo, writ­ten by found­ing mem­bers Takanashi Yuta­ka, Nakahi­ra Taku­ma, Taki Kōji, and Oka­da Takahiko declares:

The image by itself is not a thought. It can­not pos­sess a whole­ness like that of a con­cept. Nei­ther is it an inter­change­able code like a lan­guage. Yet its irre­versible materiality—the real­i­ty that is cut out by the camera—constitutes the oppo­site side of lan­guage, and for this rea­son at times it stim­u­lates the world of lan­guage and con­cepts. When this hap­pens, lan­guage tran­scends its fixed and con­cep­tu­al­ized self, trans­form­ing into a new lan­guage, and there­fore a new thought.

At this sin­gu­lar moment—now—language los­es its mate­r­i­al basis—in short its reality—and drifts in space, we pho­tog­ra­phers must go on grasp­ing with our own eyes those frag­ments of real­i­ty that can­not pos­si­bly be cap­tured with exist­ing lan­guage, active­ly putting forth mate­ri­als against lan­guage and against thought. Despite some reser­va­tions, this is why we have giv­en Pro­voke the sub­ti­tle provoca­tive mate­ri­als for thought. (Takanashi, Nakahi­ra, Taki and Oka­da, 1968)13

Mat­sumo­to Toshio had also writ­ten an essay on the “hid­den pho­to­graph” in the mag­a­zine Kam­era Jidai, where he expands on Hen­ri Cartier-Bresson’s com­po­si­tion­al con­cept of the “deci­sive moment” as an instance in which the “real” appears.14 In such instances—in the moment when the image is taken—there are rev­e­la­to­ry crevices or “pas­sages” (tsūro) which emerge out of entrenched stereo­types and struc­tures. For Mat­sumo­to such moments require “the align­ment of three fac­tors: an unex­pect­ed and rev­e­la­to­ry ‘acci­dent’ (gūzen) hap­pen­ing in the exter­nal world; a for­tu­itous pho­to­graph­ic cap­ture of the acci­dent; and a ‘sharp imag­i­na­tion’.”15 These ideas fed into Provoke’s found­ing mem­bers, and its main the­o­reti­cians, Taki Kōji and Nakahi­ra Takuma.

Taki Kōji pub­lished a series of essays on the Barthe­sean code­less image in the late 60s and ear­ly 70s where he argued for the dis­man­tling of the “seman­tic envi­ron­ment” by sur­ren­der­ing the photographer’s ego and turn­ing cre­ative action to the cam­era, thus dis­pelling the illu­sions of an elite-manip­u­lat­ed soci­ety. Key to Taki’s the­o­riz­ing was the con­cept of kankyō–the environment—where con­ven­tion­al pho­tog­ra­phy played a role in main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo. Kankyō nor­mal­ly referred to ‘the area sur­round­ing a place or thing’ or ‘the cir­cum­stances in which a dis­crete part of some­thing inter­acts with the larg­er whole.’ For Taki, kankyō was a rela­tion­al con­cept that fed into the pro­duc­tion of mean­ing, a process or ‘rela­tion­ship’ (kankei) “that entwines ‘sub­jec­tive indi­vid­u­als’ and ‘images’ in a total­is­ing nexus.”16 By exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent pho­to­graph­ic techniques—ones that pro­duced the plain and acci­den­tal image—the photographer’s cam­era, by “infi­nite­ly repeat­ing the act of pho­tog­ra­phy,” would chal­lenge the hege­mon­ic envi­ron­ment and trans­mit the real­i­ties of the world sub-lin­guis­ti­cal­ly.17 As Philippe Char­ri­er writes, “More than a mere repos­i­to­ry of use­ful styl­is­tic tech­niques, Taki regard­ed pio­neer­ing pho­tog­ra­phy forms as weapons that lay out­side the frame­work of ‘the sys­tem’. Their tech­no­log­i­cal crude­ness con­sti­tut­ed a kind of prim­i­tivis­tic pow­er that resist­ed the com­pro­mis­ing semi­otic struc­tures of lan­guage and nar­ra­tive.”18

The cam­era for fel­low Pro­voke col­league, Nakahi­ra Taku­ma served as more than an instru­ment to uncov­er the hege­mon­ic ide­ol­o­gy of the mate­r­i­al envi­ron­ment, in this case, the land­scape.19 The cam­era was also a mnemon­ic device to cap­ture what the pho­tog­ra­ph­er could have missed, lay­ing bare the world and all beyond that had pre­vi­ous­ly not been “dis­closed.” Regard­ing Nakahi­ra Takuma’s pho­to­book “For a Lan­guage to Come,” Kohara Masashi writes that Nakahira’s cam­era is an anti-inter­pre­ta­tive device that cap­tures every­thing in front of it with­out under­stand­ing it, as a rem­e­dy for mem­o­ry loss that accepts every detail with­out dif­fer­ence.”20 The cam­era, Kohara writes, is Nakahira’s third eye, and an instru­ment “to re-estab­lish his sun­dered link to the world – with­out lan­guage as a fil­ter­ing device, but with the cam­era as a gath­er­ing appa­ra­tus.” Nakahi­ra Taku­ma writes, “My pho­tog­ra­phy is an absolute neces­si­ty for me, hav­ing for­got­ten every­thing.”  Like his com­pa­tri­ot Taki Kōji, Nakahi­ra was also con­cerned about cap­tur­ing that which is not imme­di­ate to the eye or framed by the pho­tog­ra­ph­er. Influ­enced by Roland Barthes and Wal­ter Ben­jamin, Nakahi­ra found inspi­ra­tion in Eugène Atget whom he cred­it­ed as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who dis­card­ed his ego and gave sig­nif­i­cance to the uncon­scious ele­ments in his pho­tographs, “[b]ecause he lacked any a pri­ori images, Atget laid bare the world as the world. But for us, who already ful­ly ‘know’ the world, can we still naked­ly man­i­fest real­i­ty like this or not? If we sup­pose it is pos­si­ble, then is there no oth­er way than to start out by first dis­card­ing one’s self?”21

Like many who read semi­otics and phi­los­o­phy dur­ing that dynam­ic peri­od, Nakahi­ra was also pre­oc­cu­pied with the rela­tion­ship of lan­guage and the image—and Pro­voke, Nakahi­ra argued, had revived lan­guage. “Images haunt lan­guage like a shad­ow”, he writes; “they line lan­guage, and give it sub­stance, and in some cas­es, they bring about the expan­sion of lan­guage.”22 Pro­voke had ful­filled its mis­sion in that the pho­tographs had thwart­ed the “fixed mean­ings of verisimilitude”—a tree is not a tree—the image is not self-evi­dent. In the unin­ten­tion­al­ly focused style of the Pro­voke pho­tog­ra­phers, inspired by the rapid urban­iza­tion of Japan, and a land­scape engulfed in social and polit­i­cal dis­sent, the total­i­ty of the urban author­i­ty-con­trolled “land­scape” was chal­lenged. The unstruc­tured pho­tographs revealed the fis­sures or “cracks” of pos­si­ble lan­guages or pos­si­ble worlds—of a lan­guage to come. Res­o­nant of Nakahira’s essays, Moriya­ma Dai­do – per­haps Provoke’s most cel­e­brat­ed photographer—in lat­er years would argue that giv­ing mean­ing to his pho­to­graph was pointless,

to shoot images is to receive shocks from the out­side world … impos­ing a theme drains pho­tog­ra­phy of its spark […] the out­side world is extreme­ly flu­id and mixed up. Wrestling it into a “theme” is an impos­si­bil­i­ty. The mix in its total­i­ty can­not be pho­tographed. With­in a thin sliv­er of this world, only the thinnest of seg­ments can be record­ed with the pho­to­graph – but I keep pho­tograph­ing. There is noth­ing else.” (Moriya­ma)23

The explo­ration of image and text had also per­me­at­ed the world of man­ga in the late 1960s – espe­cial­ly the avant-garde man­ga (zen’ei man­ga) of Hayashi Sei­ichi and Maki Sasa­ki, who broke with con­ven­tion­al Japan­ese man­ga illus­tra­tion and the use of lan­guage. In eizō man­ga (image man­ga), the image and text rela­tion­ship is non-oppositional—it is com­pre­hend­ed through an aes­thet­ic appre­ci­a­tion of indi­vid­ual images and the poet­ic cor­re­spon­dences between one image and the next—a form of nar­ra­tive illus­tra­tion.24 By rethink­ing the nature of the image (and pan­elling in man­ga), the role of the text is also re-con­sid­ered and re-inscribed beyond the role of the Barthe­sean “relay” function—and just as the Pro­voke pho­tog­ra­phers intend­ed, for the avant-garde man­gakas, the text is no more depen­dent on or con­nect­ed to the image but drifts in space, unan­chored from its con­cep­tu­al moor­ings and works as a com­pos­ite, a mon­tage of mes­sages that under­mine the cer­tain­ty of mean­ing in a con­di­tion of flux.

Back to Windsor

We nev­er intend­ed to bring coher­ence to the theme of Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion or plan a neat com­ple­tion to the project. It seems even more sur­re­al now, in these pan­dem­ic times, when the Wind­sor-Detroit bor­der has become a zone of infec­tion. Although the bor­der remains closed to tourists, essen­tial work­ers and truck dri­vers con­tin­ue to cross dai­ly and, as of this writ­ing, Wind­sor-Essex has the high­est rate of COVID-19 in the province.25 Par­tic­u­lar­ly since 9/11, this bor­der has always been a site of antic­i­pa­tion and inse­cu­ri­ty; now it’s tak­en on an alto­geth­er dif­fer­ent qual­i­ty, almost like a phan­tom limb. The geo­graph­ic spaces now called Wind­sor and Detroit have been linked since before col­o­niza­tion. To see the oth­er shore, but be cut off from it, gen­er­ates feel­ings of loss, sur­re­al­i­ty, wor­ry, and antic­i­pa­tion for some kind of bet­ter future. Most­ly, we wait.

We had envi­sioned a process of stages and pro­longed time-gaps for post-event reflection—particularly after the inten­sive­ness of the four days of activ­i­ty in which print­ing and equip­ment issues added to the last-minute scram­ble. The 100-word com­po­si­tion was nev­er meant to “explain” the image but act­ed as com­pan­ion text, although in some cas­es it could stand per­fect­ly inde­pen­dent of the image. These jux­ta­po­si­tions of com­po­si­tions and images, we hope, act to dis­turb, illu­mi­nate, mys­ti­fy, and provoke—teasing out what lies beyond the writer-photographer’s eye or even the reader’s per­cep­tions, and invite us to gen­er­ate dif­fer­ent con­stel­la­tions of know­ing and re-assess­ing the word-image rela­tion in an age of dig­i­tal instantaneities—and of mean­ing per­pet­u­al­ly deferred. This was our par­tic­u­lar way of push­ing the semi­otic dis­rup­tion of the text-image relationship—by restrict­ed image selec­tion and lim­it­ing the word count with­in a time constraint.

Cer­tain­ly, the most tense and antic­i­pa­to­ry moments were felt dur­ing the instal­la­tion, and just before the exhi­bi­tion went live. The sequence of the pho­tographs was the participant’s deci­sion, while the instal­la­tion loca­tion and place­ment were the cura­tors’ deci­sion with the input of the con­trib­u­tor, if present. The restrict­ed time peri­od of the four days from open­ing work­shop to exhi­bi­tion cer­tain­ly cre­at­ed a sense of urgency on the part of those involved, and yet this dura­tion was con­sid­ered a pause against the flood of con­stant news and over­whelm­ing infor­ma­tion where par­tic­i­pants had to focus on cre­at­ing the five text-image com­po­si­tions. We rec­og­nize the con­tra­dic­tions here of pro­duc­ing work that calls a halt to the speed of infor­ma­tion in less than four days, but in the spir­it of Provoke’s man­i­festo, we too had hope to gen­er­ate fis­sures or cracks in the dis­course in the image-text exer­cise that took place in Wind­sor, the space of Taki Kōji’s kankyō—and to bring forth, in Nakahi­ra Takuma’s words, a lan­guage to come. If we did not leave the exhi­bi­tion with a sense of lin­ger­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion or disquietude—and want­i­ng to write a lit­tle more, reor­ga­nize the sym­po­sium struc­ture, or change the selec­tion and num­ber of pho­tographs or their sequence – we believe we would have failed. As such, we decid­ed to give our con­trib­u­tors anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty to put down their thoughts, to select per­haps an image that they wished they had includ­ed or to expand their writ­ing – this time by about anoth­er 500 words but to a sin­gle image. These thir­teen pho­to-com­po­si­tions (arranged alpha­bet­i­cal­ly) pre­sent­ed as a dossier in this Imag­i­na­tions issue, are not post­scripts to the project. How­ev­er, we do see them as adding to the dif­fer­ent parts of the project; as exhi­bi­tion, as web­page, and as pub­li­ca­tion, pre­sent­ing yet anoth­er iter­a­tion of the theme that would serve as a spring­board to future work­shops, exhi­bi­tions, and encounters.

—The Cura­tors,26 August 5, 2020


  1. Pho­tographed by Cza­ri­na Men­doza for the Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion sym­po­sium and exhi­bi­tion. Kate Schneider’s Trump­grabs series can be found here: https://​www​.kateschnei​der​.net/​t​r​u​m​p​g​r​abs

  2. Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion, May 21-24, 2019, Wind­sor, Ont. Cana­da. This was a SSHRC Con­nec­tion Grant fund­ed event orga­nized and curat­ed by Karen Engle (Project Lead), Yoke-Sum Wong, and Craig Camp­bell. The research cre­ation event includ­ed a work­shop, and an exhi­bi­tion – the research cre­ation process was most­ly com­plet­ed with­in 48 hours. Read­ers of the pho­to-com­po­si­tions here should also cross ref­er­ence with the project’s web­site, https://​www​.struc​ture​so​fan​tic​i​pa​tion​.com.

  3. There is some­thing bold in call­ing them dip­tychs, which typ­i­cal­ly refers to two images. In our case we use this lan­guage to raise the lev­el of the writ­ing in an explic­it effort to avoid the dimin­ish­ing lan­guage of a “cap­tion.”

  4. SB Con­tem­po­rary Gallery is now closed as the own­ers have relo­cat­ed to Thorn­bury, Ontario.

  5. Randy Lewis and Mon­ti Sigg, exhi­bi­tion text, in Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion, May 24, 2019.

  6. Don­na Har­away (2016), Stay­ing with the Trou­ble, Durham, NC: Duke Uni­ver­si­ty Press.

  7. Mat­sumo­to Toshio and Michael Raine (Trans.), “A The­o­ry of Avant Garde Doc­u­men­tary,” Cin­e­ma Jour­nal, 51.4 (Sum­mer 2012), pp. 148–154.
    Also see Mark Nones’ (2007*) For­est of Pres­sure: Ogawa Shin­suke and Post­war Japan­ese Doc­u­men­tary, Min­neapo­lis: Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press.

  8. Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author,” Image, Music, Text. Trans­lat­ed by Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, pp. 142–147.

  9. Mat­sumo­to and Raine, pp. 152–153.

  10. See the cat­a­logue of the exhi­bi­tion, Pro­voke: between Protest and Per­for­mance: Pho­tog­ra­phy in Japan, 1960 – 1975 (2016), Stei­dl.

  11. Are, Bure, Boke is nor­mal­ly trans­lat­ed as grainy, blur­ry, out of focus.

  12. One of the most famous images that encap­su­lates the spir­it of Pro­voke aes­thet­ics is prob­a­bly Tomat­su Shomei’s “Protest 1” from the Oh! Shin­juku series (1969). The image can be seen here fea­tured in the review of the exhi­bi­tion, For a New World to Come (2015), https://​asia​nart​news​pa​per​.com/​e​x​p​e​r​i​m​e​n​t​s​-​i​n​-​j​a​p​a​n​e​s​e​-​a​r​t​-​a​n​d​-​p​h​o​t​o​g​r​a​p​h​y​-​1​9​6​8​-​1​9​79/. Tomat­su was not part of Pro­voke but like oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers at that time, shared Provoke’s phi­los­o­phy. Tomat­su, inter­est­ing­ly though had always chal­lenged the idea of pho­to­graph­ic doc­u­men­tary real­ism asso­ci­at­ed with the pho­tog­ra­phy of Domon Ken – though they did work togeth­er.

  13. Takanashi Yuta­ka, Nakahi­ra Taku­ma, Taki Kōji, Oka­da Takahiko, Pro­voke 1.1 (Novem­ber 1968), 2.

  14. Mat­sumo­to Toshio, ‘Gūzen no mon-dai’, Kam­era jidai, 1 (Jan­u­ary 1966), pp. 46–47. The title here can be trans­lat­ed as the Prob­lem of the Acci­den­tal.

  15. Philip Char­ri­er (2017) Taki Kōji, “Pro­voke, and the Struc­tural­ist Turn in Japan­ese Image The­o­ry”, 1967–70, His­to­ry of Pho­tog­ra­phy, 41:1, pp. 25–43.

  16. Char­ri­er, pp. 26.

  17. Taki Kōji, “First dis­card the world of pseudo­cer­tain­ty: The think­ing beyond pho­tog­ra­phy and lan­guage,” Hiraya­ma Mikako (Trans.) Tokyo: Taba­ta Shoten (1970), pp. 6–11. The short essay is found in a book that served as Provoke’s fourth and final pub­li­ca­tion. This same trans­lat­ed essay is reprint­ed as “What is Pos­si­ble for Pho­tog­ra­phy” in From Post­war to Post­mod­ern, Art in Japan 1945-1989, Pri­ma­ry Doc­u­ments, 2012, p. 218.

  18. Char­ri­er, pp. 31.

  19. The reprint­ing of Nakahi­ra Takuma’s pho­to­book, For a Lan­guage to Come is also accom­pa­nied by the trans­la­tion of his three essays between 1968–1973. They are: Has Pho­tog­ra­phy been able to Pro­voke Lan­guage (1968); Rebel­lion against the Land­scape: Fire at the Lim­its of Per­pet­u­al Gaz­ing (1970); Look­ing at the City or, The Look from the City (1973). All three essays are list­ed as Nakahi­ra Taku­ma, “Three Essays by Nakahi­ra Taku­ma,” Franz K Pritchard (Trans.) in For a Lan­guage to Come (2010), Tokyo, Osiris.

  20. Kohari Masashi (2010), “A Por­trait of Nakahi­ra Taku­ma (2005)” in https://​amer​i​can​sub​ur​bx​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​0​6​/​t​a​k​u​m​a​-​n​a​k​a​h​i​r​a​-​p​o​r​t​r​a​i​t​-​o​f​-​t​a​k​u​m​a​.​h​tml

  21. Nakahi­ra, 2010.

  22. Ibid.

  23. Moriya­ma Dai­do with Ivan Var­tan­ian, “Dai­do Moriya­ma: The Shock from Out­side, Inter­view with Ivan Var­tan­ian,” Aper­ture, No. 203 (Sum­mer 2011), pp. 22–31.

  24. Ryan Holm­berg, “A Vogue for I Don’t Get It: Hayashi Sei­ichi vs. Sasa­ki Maki, 1967–69,” The Com­ic Jour­nal http://​www​.tcj​.com/​a​-​v​o​g​u​e​-​f​o​r​-​i​-​d​o​n​t​-​g​e​t​-​i​t​-​h​a​y​a​s​h​i​-​s​e​i​i​c​h​i​-​v​s​-​s​a​s​a​k​i​-​m​a​k​i​-​1​9​6​7​-​69/

  25. CBC July 26, 2020.

  26. Yoke-Sum Wong (Cal­gary, Ab), Karen Engle (Wind­sor, Ont), Craig Camp­bell (Austin, Tx)