“Sandra Becker 01” has a good eye for observing closely.
While converting her observations she let’s us rethink
about our habits and gives us a new point of view of things
surrounding us. Her mean interest is time; the being on the
way inside her; travelling to yesterday, to the very moment,
Speeds, directions, shapes, terminals... The connections are
open, but there is a choice. The viewer is observer and at the
same time the person being observed. Sandra Becker 01 is inviting
us to a voyage through time - starting at different points -
going to different directions.
(Paula Böttcher in “Camera Austria”)
Essay by Ralph Linder
(translation by Sandra Becker & Gary Ryan)
When photographic apparatus was first conceived, it was
thought of as a magic cave in which flowing appearances became
fixed by wizardry. Then one did everything in order to participate
in the inexplicable process that happened inside the black
box, if only as a viewer. "Windows made of red glass,"
as William Henry Talbot suggested, "feed the curiosity."
Since then matters have changed, as Sandra Becker shows us
in her piece Bildstrom (Flow of Images): the colorful glass
is now murky, the black box is now white; only the unsharpness
of early photography now remains. Like the passing of wisps
of smoke, the shaped figures move upon the glassy surface.
More appearances than images, diffuse and not localized, they
appear out of the depths. The milky surface absorbs all details,
The relationships have also changed. It is no longer the
photographic materials that need to be protected from the
light, but rather the human being who needs to be protected
from the shining images, for the sensitivity formerly belonging
to those materials now belong to the human viewer.
Not only to minimize the everyday flood of images, but also
to stop the flood of individuals, as in traffic, at least
for awhile, Becker utilizes a strategy of distance. In her
piece Rotation the actual distance from the objects is reflected
within the image production. Becker first composed her view
in Moscow from the roof of a skyscraper and caught short sequences
using a video camera as a photo camera. Later from the video
monitor, she photographed individual still images in order
to create an arranged sequence movement of special manner.
Its content does not seem to be related to the threat of city
traffic (part of every pedestrians experience horizon), nor
does it seem to be reflective upon ecological consequences.
Instead, though the diminutive objects traveling the highway
seem toy like, the direction of the traveling is disconcerting,
being opposite to that from which text is normally read. This
tension is heightened by the highway arrows appearing in all
That Becker communicates views we get used to is also evident
in her video work Cluster. Here the signs seem to be completely
out of control. The combinations of numbers and arrows form
a myriad of new relationships with each other and with the
surrounding architecture. On the one hand, the image and letter
material seems to be just as it is. On the other hand, it
seems to deal with views of spatial relations within the architectural
context. Each semantic context is put together, then pulled
apart; stopped, then moved. From the separated signs and images
and the abundance of unordered semantic codes, a dynamification
of the images is created, organizing their flow, their rhythm
-- a process paralleled in music where to "cluster"
means to put sounds on top of one another in small intervals.
In Global Departure Becker leans toward the aesthetic of
train surveillance cameras, with their normative, total views.
Her portrayal is of permanent repetition: waiting, boarding,
departing. The video work Waiting Room depicts an even more
cool inventory-taking view. Its falling perspectives, unsharpness
and under-lighting, image repetitions and fast-forwards, creates
that strange state of the individual that Becker calls "the
poetic of waiting." This happens together with a diffused
perception of "in-betweenness," wherein the concrete
perceptions of time and space are dissolved into the perceived
view of the waiting person.
Another metaphor upon which Cluster and also Perpetuum Mobile
is based, and that depicts this experience of in-betweenness,
is the simple elevator. Gradually, a view of individual, undifferentiated
floors of a building is shown, and gangways, and endless rows
of seats, all referred to by Becker in an accompanying poem.
These are the urban spaces into which the "heroes of
modern life" are spirited; these and the social hall,
apartments, and workplaces found in anonymous, only functional
buildings with immaculate directories for facilitating permanent
Such movement can be experienced on different levels, one
being that a piece of work placed upon the floor of an exhibition
space can be directly walked around. But the movement never
arrives anywhere. It is an endless loop whose image rhythm
directs the viewer's sensitivity of time.
Indeed, human beings are always in motion, as Becker deals
with in the photo series Persona Grata. Whether observing
persons riding the escalator in Moscow (as in that work) or
whether casting the viewer into the state of in-betweenness,
she is constantly searching for reflections of our "urban
nature," to quote Germano Celant, amid the poetics and
threats of everyday life. Usually ignored in the image flood
of the mass media, her subjects are common, everyday people:
the persona grata.