Faded Relations


Famoso Inn (with swimming pool) by Jeff Brouws

A fading swimming pool set amidst flourishing foliage. A fish-topped fountain, now inhaling musky air. A lone chair, overlooking a dried aquatic hotelscape. These are a few of the many objects contained in Jeff Brouws’ “Famoso Inn (with swimming pool),” in which the San Francisco photographer’s anthropological exploration of bleak aesthetics interrogates the origin, decay, and memorial space of industrial modernity.

Yet, the static moment musters not just collapsing markets, but caressing entities, each translating its enmeshed ecology into its own unique terms. Decay, capital, and bleakness are, themselves, implicated as conceptual objects in the frame, recorded as finite beings in a contingent material array. Here, we see a set of objectal powers unfurled before the human gaze, such as earth toned saturation and blue-hued siding soiled by brusquely textured debris. At the same time, we are exposed to the inadequacy of our own perception in representing the hyperpluralized being of Others, both human and nonhuman, that are constantly animating their own relational architectonics and spatiotemporality, encountering the sublime horror of uncertainty with each burst and retreat.

If this is an image of the deindustrialization in which Donald Trump’s ascension is so heavily ingrained, then it also an encounter with the uncanny core of automation: humanism is the remainder in need of elimination for capital to accelerate. There is no labor; there is only occupation. There is no wealth; there is only finance. There is no code instructing our capacity to resist; there is only the urgent call to resist as a mode of existence and with a fierce belief that an alternative politics is in desperate need of emancipation.

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