Elevator Music 29: Unphotographable features a new sound piece by Tim Davis consisting entirely of composed samples of the word “unphotographable” taken from various recordings of the 1937 Rodgers and Hart show tune, “My Funny Valentine.” While Davis is best known as a photographer, Unphotographable represents a new direction in his work based on his ever-growing collection of indexical audio, visual, and cultural curiosities. Davis describes his shift in focus as a form of reckoning with the ease with which we can now accumulate digital technology. Davis describes the large format analog cameras he has traditionally worked with as “speaking in complete sentences,” while digital cameras speak in snippets, “happily collecting any fragment of information put before them, and allowing tiny noticings to be fleshed out into large-scale investigations.”
Elevator Music 29 consists of Unphotographable along with Davis’ Photography Liberation Front, a collection of “No Photography” signs that Davis has stolen from museums and churches around the world. Together, Unphotographable and Photography Liberation Front create a moment of prohibition in a time of digital photographic ubiquity.
Other recent sound- and video-based projects include Counting In, a video work that records amateur bands during practice, counting in “1-2-3-4,” for a song that never happens, as the video moves from one band to the next; and 1001 Swastikas, a video of 1,001 photographs of graffiti around Italy, animated into a wild swirl.
Tim Davis received his BA from Bard College and his MFA from Yale University. He has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions in the MACRO Museum in Rome, the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, among others. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize and in 2005 he received the Leopold Godowsky Jr. Color Photography Award. His works are in the permanent collections of institutions including The Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Walker Art Center. Davis currently lives in Tivoli, New York, and teaches photography at Bard College.