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specific computer software, images no longer optically distinguishable from a photograph. And though made in a technical production unlike that of a photograph, they nevertheless comply (sometimes too precisely) with our perceptual conventions.
In digital post-processing – still conceivable as a form of retouching – the collage and montage processes become important when adding or subtracting processes delete or paste parts of photographs – or when the image is designed using only these processes to begin with. Drawing from the montage techniques of painting and photography, the electronically-arranged composite image lets itself to be called a ‹third-degree montage› in which the start-material, like in a photo-collage or collage made of paper, loses its autonomy and becomes part of a new image when combined with other materials. Even in its third variety, the montage principle remains a two-dimensional surface technique able to produce images of a consistent quality without an origin, because it no longer depends on anything visual, based instead on a changeable calculating structure. The newly-made, seemingly photographic image is no longer the
depiction of an object, but merely simulates the representation of one. What the simulation describes here is an emulating procedure, which pretends to be analog photography and, by doing so, follows our seeing habits, trained by looking at photography as well as at film.
The reception of these digital constructions depends on knowing their production route: identifying simulated photographs as digital constructions first allows a further investigation of the images. To make this work in such a field of technical and aesthetic dependencies, inside which the ‹photographic› shows itself, the artistic context takes on a very special function. Since this is the experimentation zone, the area of critical potential where the rapid technical development of the mass media’s flood of images and the changes they instigate in a general understanding of images are accompanied, questioned, and contradicted.
Just as when painting, as a reaction to photography, was declared dead; 150 years later,