Images without Black
Leaving Leningrad (1989-2003)
When I returned to Leningrad in 1989 after nine-year
absence and immigration I found my old house in ruins. Everything was
in a state of sad disrepair: the neo-Baroque façade and the socialist
inner yard with the "black entrance" that led to our communal
apartment. Only when I pulled out my camera to take a picture I discovered
graffiti "death" on the rusting pipe.
Description: Originals are printed on ordinary printer paper, U.S. letter size, “draft quality.” In the light they look semitransparent and can be hung on a string.
I made these prints in 2003 using an old printer. It operated with two cartridges, black and color. Once late at night I ran out of black ink and there was no way for me to replace it. I resorted to old-fashioned methods, spanking the printer several times--first gently and then a little less so. What followed was a sudden outburst of color, as if the printer’s unconsciousness came spilling out. The euphoria of liberation was short-lived. I fed the remains of my “draft quality” paper into the printer until its last breath. At that moment, broken-tech art was born.
I was unable to duplicate this process. New printers do not allow you to print images without black, thus eliminating the possibility of this kind of broken tech art.
Disclaimer: For the website I
rephotographed the prints, but the color, the result of technical error,
defied the multiple choices of Photoshop.