appropriation, copy, reinterpretation, plagiary, remix, reproduction

accumulation, archive, wunderkammer, database, cabinet of curiosities, encyclopedia

disclosure, reprint, multiplication, republishing, replication, fac-simile

destruction, deletion, burning, damage, programmed obsolescence, hidden


Artifacts by Italian visual artist Carla Rak takes into account a more subtle process of corruption. Since its very beginning, photography has been considered a perfect medium to archive our memories. With the digital shift, a much wider amount of memories are collected and stored on binary files on our machine, yet their nature has become more ephemeral and short–lived. Referring to the inconvenient occurrence of digital damage, the artist has intentionally corrupted a series of still–life images from the archive of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. As these digital reproductions are accessed with an ordinary text editor, they reveal their true nature of nothing more than a sequence of words set in a machine language. Rak nonsensically operates on this unknown language, making minor edits that cause images to lose some details, colors, tones. Still readable by machines, they are decaying, losing identity. As the disintegrating flowers in seventeenth–century painting were an allegory of human frailty and transience, these corrupted artifacts aim to recognize how feeble our memories could be in the digital milieu. Rak finally reproduces her decomposed images on big sized lambda prints, as a symbolic gesture to deliver their memory again to the realm of physicality.

Carla Rak lives and works in Rome, Italy, where she was born in 1978.

After many years spent as photoeditor in a big Italian photojournalistic agency, since 2011 works as a freelance editor, consultant and teacher.

In 2012 she started also developing her own artistic career, working with different media, mainly collages, photography, writing and video. Obsessed with images, Carla is often interested in exploring their nature and boundaries, in playing with their ambiguity and with the transformation of their meanings through time and contexts, enacting different processes to liberate pictures from their solidified history. Her work is often strictly connected with collecting: already existing images are the raw material to question the status of the photographic image and the starting point to stage for them a new atmosphere, chasing in all her projects the unreal, the mistery, the hybrid, the unclear. With a degree in Sociology and a PhD in Communication Sciences, her academic writings on photography gained the recognition of the Institute of Philosophical Studies in Naples and the Cozzi Award from the Benetton Foundation.


Work and life diary

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