These images, all photograms, were constructed by incinerating dollar bills, taking a fragment of those remains, and then trying arrange a burnt bit of currency inside the centermost point of dollar-shaped frames on sheets of light sensitive photographic paper. After exposing the dollar’s ember on paper to light, its mark creates an index, a trace of direct contact of what’s being shown and how it’s presented. This one to one ratio of connecting subject to medium feels most appropriate for presenting evidence of a sedition against a societal agreement that binds the way we do business and survive on a basic level. While the illegal act of destroying currency renders it valueless, my way mediating this protest causes a crisis of contradiction, where the act of extinguishing the subjects value is compromised by presenting the proof of the destroyed value as an object of worth. Lateral in this juncture, the mark of ash signifies nothing of its former diluted symbolic origin and it’s only the surrounding emptiness that allows the image’s present form to resonate a shadow of the subject at hand. In turn, the act folds in on itself and becomes a victim of its own creation. It fails to signify anything outside its own abjection. What remains is an image whose subversive bent is hollowed out by its repeated duplication and an existential litany for an architecture that builds towards something larger than its own construction. How can we build new orders when radical acts of displacing existing orders tend to get caught in their own web of involution?
A Way Away
“Every era has to reinvent the project of “spirituality” for itself. (Spirituality = plans, terminologies, ideas of deportment aimed at the resolution of painful structural contradictions inherent in the human situation, at the completion of human consciousness, at transcendence.)”
Susan Sontag, The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967
I went to the Hudson River Valley because of a need to explore the realms of an area that had spiritual attachment to the land’s history. Formerly, the Hudson River School of painters of the mid-nineteenth century depicted the area as epic, pastoral, and sacred – interpreting light as a manifestation of the divine. My photographic concerns were to submerge into the valley’s terrain and sift through the woods with the camera as a means to investigate an existential relationship between outer nature and the internal human condition. I became interested in the way light buries detail into a thick density, and how a trace of incandescence wavers at hours when light both rises from the horizon and fades in the void of night. Through photographing at these muted illuminated times, I sought to disclose fragments of contemplation by carving out elements of the land where a tension between regression and procession arises. Barriers along this transition are photographed to signify both a pause of movement through the woods and as a equivalent to a psychological obstacle or boundary in the mind. My interest in doing this is to play with opposing dualistic themes, to portray what ambiguity or concepts of vagueness they suggest by juxtaposing them together. As a result, I see this body of work as a fractured map, a wandering narrative into a place where one may be finding a way out or merely walking in circles.