This installation, the thirteenth since the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography opened in 2007, is a snapshot—not comprehensive, but representative—of the collecting interests of the Department of Photographs through recently acquired works made by fifteen artists over the last seven years. While the title is taken from a photograph in the exhibition, the concept of reconstruction chimes with many of the works, which can be viewed, at least in part, as indirect addresses to how perception and cognition are being remapped to accommodate our newly bifurcated existences—online and "in real life."
The notion that we swim in a sea of photographic images that shape how we see ourselves and the world felt new in 1989 and prescient in 1968, but with the rise of the Internet and social media, this condition is so obvious as to be useless. With one foot in cyberspace and the other on an unstable terrain of accelerated change, our daily life and deepest subjective recesses—our relationship to ourselves, each other, and to things—is constantly being reconstructed along digital lines, with cameras serving as almost bodily appendages to interface between these two realities. In this context, the seamless digital "restoration" of dazzle camouflage to a WWII battleship, the viral spread of Photoshop mishaps in an interior view, or the simple folding back of a book page can be seen as complex negotiations between the old order and the new networks that silently and invisibly are shaping individual and collective experience.