Shall we ever learn to navigate the oceans of information like dolphins?Two years after her first photobook, Enchanted Blossom, visual artist Anna den Drijver will self-publish her new book, titled _____& Whip It, in September 2018. In her new book, Den Drijver tries to come to grips with the ever-accelerating world of digital image circulation and consumption by combining her own contemplative photographs with adaptations of images from the public domain. She questions whether quiet reflection is still possible given the current inflation of the image and information. Can one still process information without jostling one’s identity? What do authorship and (intellectual) property mean in the context of an overcharged information economy? Through its tight image selection, flowing editing, and juxtapositions of photographs and collage works, _____& Whip It offers an artistic reflection on the aforementioned questions and provokes new ones. What do the recurring animals, hands, and eyes have to do with this? Why is there so much water to be seen?
In her artistic practice, Den Drijver focuses, partly influenced by her past career in marketing, on how image culture shapes our relationships to the world around us. Because of the vast amounts of information made available to us through the internet and other media, a perhaps false sense of urgency and immediacy arises. Information is often distributed and consumed in such an explosive and unfiltered manner, making it nearly impossible to maintain distance and make independent judgments. Is there still room in this hypermedial world for the development of something like authentic selfhood?In an essay especially written for this book, writer, translator, and photo critic Taco Hidde Bakker also focuses on questions surrounding the “flood of information.” Bakker considers why we so often speak about information using aquatic metaphors: a flood or tsunami of images, or information washing over you. Do we indeed live in a “fluid” age, as sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has it, or rather in co-isolation, predominantly connected via screens and interfaces. “To safely surf the wild ocean of the World Wide Web, one must build a seaworthy raft,” writes Bakker, and he concludes, in the only direct reference to an image in _____& Whip It, that one day “we will have learned to navigate the vast oceans of information like consummate dolphins.”