Will Rockel’s work asks if postproduction can escape the Marxist vortex. Commodities are passé. Can one fetishize a joke, a glance, an aesthetic trope-roll it over the tongue until melted and pliant, but still very much a Heideggerian Thing? We rephotograph, can we refetishize? Can I fetishize a fetish?
These photographs borrow the language of the digital photoshoot. They are studied and polished images, but still set aside from any social signifiers. Just as fashion photographs appear to be selling something, even when they’re not. Rockel’s photographs operate at a further remove. (They appear to appear to sell something.) They mention sexuality and humor, but in ways that aren’t sexy or funny. This is because they, like most of the Internet, lack context. Without someone else in the room, sexuality trips into the pornographic, and the jokes just aren’t funny.
The work accepts that we communicate through images as a precondition. As such, Bourgeois Angst isn’t about images, but about the frail linguistic corpus supposedly behind the curtain. The work belongs to the world of if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, of don’t ask, don’t tell.
Because, after all, who goes to Chat Roulette to chat?
Will Rockel is an artist living in Berlin.
More work is available on his website, Spectacular Society Corporation.