Thursday, February 18, 2010
*a first solo show! tell your mom and bring your sister if you can't handle it.
...Ladies und Gentlemen...drop your pissroom bait
And make sure you're not late, you tramps and lunatics.
Here's A trick that's gonna make you
*cyanotype on canvas
Working within the realms of image making and immersive installation, I have become increasingly interested in the notion that “objective” representation is one of the most pernicious myths to ever plague humanity’s understanding of the world. Initially, employed as the handmaiden of this ideology, the camera and its ensuing photographs ushered in an entirely new era of technocratic domination. This method of recording reality simultaneously serves to establish the fabricated reflection of a machine and is used to further legitimize an institutionally ordered world. The camera in this respect is not a neutral tool for documenting “truth,” but rather a panopticon which enforces a system of values founded upon the acceptance of its gaze. Controlling the images behind an idea is a means to reinforce its authority. I am deeply interested in exploring this potential for the image and art experience to exist as a discursive site for power utilized within the realms of knowledge production. I believe this power dynamic is irrevocably present at the heart of photographic production and reproduction. With the image as an arbiter of value, “the heavenly fire no longer strikes depraved cities, it is rather the lens which cuts through ordinary reality like a laser, putting it to death.”1
In my body of “environmental portraits,” I am seeking to address the existential crisis of subjectivity in relation to one’s personal understanding and connection with the Other. In each image, the Subject’s face is physically cropped out of the frame, isolating the body in a specific space. Without the ability to connect a complete facial identity to the person depicted, the viewer is instead forced to construct a persona based on body language, personal objects, and anything that one may glean from the mis-en-scene of the Subject’s domestic space. I am interested in investigating this sliding of the universe away from the individual in an attempt to probe the objectifying nature of another’s gaze at a Subject unable to return the look.
My “Flesh and Bones” series is a direct visual interfacing of both the external and internal structures of the body. In examining humanity’s tissue, these images serve as a simultaneous viewing of the exterior human visage in conjunction with the interior aesthetics of x-ray and endoscopic imaging. Immersed and often subsumed by the medical-visual codification of physical malady, the subject’s internal characteristics are laid bare and made public, forcing us into a confrontation with the intimate sliver of an unseen doppelganger. Operating within the visual lexicon, representation is an incision made by the Foucaultian blade of institution, which peels back the veneer of our external projections, literally cutting to the bone in its attempt to diagnose, prescribe, and control both creature and culture.
By subverting “the (modern) belief in vision as a privileged means of access to certainty and truth,” images may be constructed to challenge the viewer’s dominant perceptual paradigm.2 In this way we may realign, re-asses, re-conceptualize, and reflect on the manner in which we apprehend our reality, ourselves, and others.
1. Jean Baudrillard, qtd. in “The Crisis of the Real: Photography and Postmodernism,”
2. Craig Owens, “The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism”