I am the faculty advisor for my college’s Art Club. The students and I have been working on a mural project all semester- an ambitious piece that covers an entire first floor hallway, where the offices of Arts and English faculty are located. The work involves a lot of contortions- twistings of the body, stretching, strange yoga poses. We end up sore, tired, sloppy with paint at least two days a week. We are often also subjects of fun and observation; Admissions staff will come through with prospective students, to show us off.
My students taught me something on Monday, though I’m not yet sure how to articulate it. We had been working for around half an hour. And then, the lights went down. The entire neighborhood was plunged into darkness. I sat back and stretched, ready to call it a day. But my students simply took out their smartphones, turned on the flashlight devices built into them, and kept painting.
I’m thinking a lot recently about the problem of the body; its presence as solid, container of identity, its absence, its ability to be missing, as in missing person. The body from which the person is missing. The body of the person who is missed. The body, vacated, that still exists in the world- somewhere. Out of its context.
All images: photographs through found x-ray film, 2018.
Update: Some of these images will be part of Bump in the Night at Studio 659 in Whiting, IN, opening October 13, 2018.
I tend to work in series, in multiples. As with the ongoing Dante Project, I also work with developing processes, producing both art and a record or archive of a developing skill. Language, visual language. Motion. The work in drawing and in audio exists in liminal spaces, in the thin boundaries between drawing and investigation, the thin boundaries between language systems.
The fingerprint images function both as traditional drawings, and as markers of motion; fingerprints stand in for individuality, for identity. The idea that only one person could have made these prints is both useful and reductive. It’s also false. Fingerprints must be interpreted into meaning, and are assigned identity based on what are called points of comparison. These points of comparison are subjective, debatable, and always moving.
So too, these images. I think they work best when they suggest motion, something that has already happened but is still happening. When they suggest, rather than describe. To apprehend a subject is to catch a person, to stop that person from performing an action by taking them into your custody. To apprehend an idea or an image is to understand it, to stop it from shifting in your perception, to catch it through naming and describing, by constructing a narrative. Yes, this. And then this. And then this.