Sergen Şehitoğlu presents two years old project, called “Kill Memories”, is comprised of 15 images captured from a computer screen. These are the images of a young woman, a cam model, who contacts her customers via a webcam which, in this case, substitutes a camera.
Concerned with the use of photograph as medium in the era we live in today, the artist sets here multiple angles for the viewer. First of all, he puts forward the nature of photography as medium. A non-traditional tool, the webcam, essentially possessed by the object of the photograph, is instrumentalized and used by the artist. Thus, the series open up a discussion about the nature of the art of photography. Another important question that the artist discusses is the form that our relations have taken with digital age. Besides, in contact for almost more than a year, between the artist and the subject, grows an odd connection here. And these photographs taken at different times during more than a year represent a special kind of virtual relationship where online life overtakes the ‘real world’ life, just like in the recent film of Spike Jones, “Her”. This connection becomes even more complicated with the fact that the woman, consciously exposing herself, is not aware that she is being part of an artistic project. Here, the boundaries between private and public become extremely blurry.
After capturing the images, Şehitoğlu processed these shots in distinct ways like deciding the frame, the blur or the colours. In a way, this series is also a new look to Thomas Ruff’s 2003 series “Nudes” where he plays on the pornographic jpegs collected on the web. Although the series “Kill Memories” is not erotic, nor pornographic; the two methods stay parallel as the virtual images are gathered via internet and then transformed into optically beautiful but contextually profound imagery.
"For a period of time I’ve followed a woman exposing herself in an online chatroom, to which anybody could join, under the alias “Kill Memories”. She was not aware that I was deliberately following her and apart from my unilateral observation, we had no communication. During this observation process, I’ve shot her portraits via my computer’s screenshot feature. The series, which took a year to complete, consists of approximately fifteen portraits, taken at various times.
As well as virtual relationships, “Kill Memories” is also about privacy and found imagery. In an age where we have no qualms about publicizing our activities on the Internet, how ethical or unethical is it to secretly shoot portraits of a woman exposing herself via a webcam and then, to represent them? I say re-present, because I select images that suit my purposes from amongst a cluster of already-exposed images. It is not me who records, adjusts or decides the time and place of these images. However, it is I, who decides which ones to put forth. As such, “Kill Memories” is a series that I’ve made out of found imagery. "