Wednesday 11 September 2013

Joachim Schmid: X Marks the Spot

All images © Joachim Schmid

Joachim Schmid introduces his latest project, X Marks the Spot - a thought-provking meditation on a key moment in the US's history and the role photography and surveillance plays in memorialising it through the prism of digital culture.

Dallas, Texas, Dealey Plaza. The site where John F. Kennedy was assassinated is a major tourist magnet. White X's on the pavement mark the spots where the president was fatally shot – in the middle of a freeway on-ramp. Visitors often wait for a gap in traffic, hurry to one of the X's, get their photos taken and leave the road before the next cars arrive. Some of those photos end up in online photo sharing sites such as Flickr, with captions along these lines: “I don’t know why I felt the need to stand by the X but judging from everyone else, it would appear to be the thing to do.”

A webcam is positioned in a window on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, the site where, on November 22, 1963, an assassin allegedly fired the shots that killed Kennedy as the presidential motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza. The camera’s perspective exactly matches that of the assassin: it now shoots the tourists shooting their own memorial photos, and we can watch this in real time.

My new book X Marks the Spot combines snapshots taken by tourists at Dealey Plaza with footage from the webcam.
Joachim Schmid