Recursions, viewable at Incline Gallery from August 21- Septmeber 20
In the 1620’s, the René Descartes famously demonstrated - by dissecting a cow eye - that vision is formed using the same scientific properties as a camera obscura. This experiment not only illuminated the mechanics of vision, but that vision is formed in a mechanical way. The sense that the body and senses were machine-like, with a soul as operator, became a common model for imagining how we navigate the world. Since Descartes’ experiment, much has proven that vision is subjective, and not an entirely reliable source of information. Still, as we perceive our senses and cognition functioning by scientific principles, one is left to wonder to what degree technology offers models of our own functioning.
Using several approaches, this body of work explores and considers how the forms of technology take reveal and inform (directly or indirectly) the ways we believe that we navigate the world.
Recursion in computer science, refers to the ability for a function or algorithm to repeatedly parse information, creating many instances of itself- and revealing itself through pattern. My source materials - circuit boards, code and robots - were originally made as purely utilitarian objects, with little consideration for design and form. Still, these objects embody deep metaphors about the ways they we perceive our own cognition (and ultimately perception). Likewise, we are left to consider how these forms recursively reconstruct our sense of ourselves.
I am interested in the integral seam between the mechanical trace of the camera and the fictions within. A photograph is simultaneously a map of the maker’s aesthetic decisions and a record of what was once in front of the camera. The aesthetic decisions of the maker betray a kind of fiction - they imply a narrative which is sometimes personal, and sometimes cultural.
In my most recent series, Fictions, I expose the tools of photographic fiction (lights, stands, silks, clamps, power packs, etc.) in an impassive landscape. The landscapes, placement, and organization of the equipment vary. However, in each image, the lights denote the presence of an absent subject, while simultaneously alluding to the presence of the maker. The quiet, unresponsive landscapes are an equal subject to the lights. Shot in remote locations on overcast days, the landscapes imply an ambiguous set of narrative parameters. Easily anthropomorphized, the lights seem to be an extension of myself. Within the mute landscape it is the lights that offer us a place - a fiction, to reside in.
A secondary body of work accompanies Fictions, much like a collection of footnotes annotates a research paper. In this work, I make use of text itself as an aesthetic material, using 2 point type aligned to the right, obscuring text as a signifier. What remains is a kind of pulse, where paragraphs and long replies make up the peaks, and shorter statements make up the troughs. The texts are mostly fictional works by known authors: Samuel Beckett, H. P. Lovecraft, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad. In some cases the ‘text blocks’ are short stories that repeat themselves, in other cases they are plays written in dialog format, where no increment of writing gets above a few sentences. Like the images in Fictions, the text blocks take a distanced look at the tools of fiction, allowing the viewer to consider the impulse towards making meaning.
Wanderers in a Sea of Fog
Reminiscent of nineteenth century paintings of the sublime, such as Caspar Friedrich’s “Monk by the Sea” (1808–1810), the subject is shared between the environment and the individuals within it. Unlike common nineteenth century Romantic representations of the sublime, the figure passively faces the viewer, displaying their literal relationship with their environment. The result is often comical, as the people are unwitting subjects of their interaction within an omnipresent setting. “Wanderers In a Sea of Fog” asks the viewer to reconsider our relation to our environment, and the artistic suppositions that have been handed down to us.