Surface Tension


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A great shift is underway in our means of communication. Increasingly, we are using visual, rather than verbal, language. Simultaneously, the imagery that we read is overwhelmingly moving to screens, creating a unified and flat mechanism of conveying information. In her series Surface Tension, American photographer Tabitha Soren (b. 1967) draws our attention to the intersection of these movements by focusing her photographs precisely on the surface of the screen, complete with greasy finger taps, swipes and scrolls.

Soren explains that screen language is not limited to passive reading; the linguistic use “requires a complicated dance of the fingers, a repertoire of gestures that work best when invisible and unnoticed.” By drawing attention to the artefacts of these movements, layered upon the viewed photographs, Soren asks us to consider the extent of the mediation: it passes through our bodies, our devices, our wallets and even our governments.


Surface Tension was featured in GUP#56, the Transition issue.


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