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Nancy Burson «Big Brother (Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Hitler, Khomeini» | Big Brother
Nancy Burson, «Big Brother (Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Hitler, Khomeini», 1983
Big Brother | © Burson, Nancy

United States | 35.6*27.9 cm (W*H) | Silbergelatine-Print | photo series

 Nancy Burson
«Big Brother (Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Hitler, Khomeini»

We calculate the world, then we compute it. Nancy Burson's pictures are products of that mentality. And they show it: they show what sort of world will result from that mentality: a world of chimaeras.
The heart desires something: for example, an androgynous human being, or an accomplished Big Brother, or a perfect female beauty. Such a desire may be called a ‹program.› In order to realize such a program in the form of an image, various available photographs should be chosen. [ this case] the photos of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao and Khomeini. [...] Each of these photos is to be calculated: dissected into very small squares called ‹pixels.› These calculations are to be fed into a computer, which is then instructed to compute the desired image from the pixels according to the program called ‹desire.› The result will be Burson's photos of chimaeras.
(Source: Vilém Flusser, »Nancy Burson. Chimären«, in: Photography after Photography, Hubertus v. Amelunxen et. al. (eds.), Munich/Amsterdam 1996, p. 151.)