Viktor Koen: Witness No.02 and No.04

  • ©2007, Viktor Koen

  • ©2007, Viktor Koen



    Witness No.02 and No.04


Creation Year:



    Digital print on paper


    13 inches x 19 inches


Artist Statement:

    Witness is a series of 12 prints addressing issues of civil and personal responsibility as they develop due to the rapid proliferation of digital media. This proliferation has allowed independent organizations of any size and individuals from around the world who were previously unable to communicate with a wide audience to do just that. This has not only allowed each one of us to express opinions or present facts, but also allowed us to witness more current, past, and future events in a broader arena than ever before. This new-found ability comes with a slew of benefits but also a heavy burden. When we can so easily search and find, we assume responsibilities that were unknown just a few years ago. The Witness series combines photographs chosen for their graphic symbolic quality. Their darkness reflects the issues confronting the “witness.” Their one eye sees it all but unfortunately rarely acts or reacts, like the cyclops that can see but has blind spots that limit his vision. The digital veil covering the entire length of the images serves as a separator between reality and perception. It also brands and deforms the witness in an attempt to show the immediate personal effects of what happens elsewhere, no matter how distant. The fact that the witnesses have no names, only numbers, makes them objective but also objectifies them, just like exhibits submitted in court. They review and contemplate our traumatic past as a species but also the present that seems sometimes as bleak as our past. They “testify” on environmental issues, technology, and politics. They also criticize traditional media outlets in all of their shapes and forms.

Technical Information:

    The digital, on-screen process of creating the images follows loose pencil studies that determine concepts and compositions or hours of mixing and matching parts and objects. Adobe Photoshop 6.0 is used to connect and manipulate old and new sources into seamless visuals. Only the basic set of software filters and effects are utilized on the multi-layered files, some colored artificially and others retaining their original colors. Most shadowing is done from scratch in order to control the lighting (since the different parts were photographed under equally different light conditions, indoors and outdoors) and enhance three dimensionality (no 3D software is used at any point of the process). The computer allows for transparent-layered results and incorporates photographic materials that are essential to the creation of surreal, yet momentarily believable, images. Digital photography (an eight-megapixel Olympus E-500) has proven to be an invaluable asset because it allows easy capture of objects and textures for the compositions. The main advantage of working digitally is the freedom to constantly change and adjust any aspect of image making. The ability to combine different sources (digital or not) on one platform pushes the process toward expressive and experimental directions.