THE LOOKING GAME - 2014
The Looking Game is a publication and installation project that examines the bizarre exploits of serial killer and amateur photographer Rodney Alcala who in 1968, and on the run from the California police after the first of series of crimes, moved to NYC. Here, while attending film courses at New York University he assumed the alias John Berger, the same name as the British writer and art historian famed for the BBC TV series Ways of Seeing.
Is it only a mere coincidence? Did Alcala know about John Berger?
Paltrinieri and Smerdel’s editorial project compares some of Berger’s writings with the images taken from the serial killer’s archive, found by the police officers in Seattle, Washington, and published online in 2010. Starting from there, the authors construct a narrative that investigates the multilevel relationship between photographer and photographed.
In the form of installation, The Looking Game further explores the limits of documentary storytelling by juxtaposing pictures taken from Alcala, excerpts from Berger’s books and notes written by the artists themselves. Through the manipulation and progressive deconstruction of the original photographic material, the installation investigates and expands issues related to authorship, appropriation as well as the processes of production and consumption of images.