A large portion of my work and research is centered around the idea of the mental construct. Using cognitive states as jumping points for visual stimuli. However, as the world of the imaginary begins to bleed into the real, for me this is done through my photography, I have come to a cross roads in my work that I almost didn’t even notice.
It all started when I began to explore this idea of a visual depiction of an internal state, however for my first successful, in my opinion, image Planes I wanted the virtual to appear as a construct, inherently flawed despite the subjects complete absorption. Now here I use the term “virtual” to describe a space created organically with in the mind, as compared to the typical and assumed digital version, and for now lets just assume that has already been argued. This organic virtual, which is a compensation and temporary replacement for the real, as I originally thought, should be identifiable as such on a basal level. The clouds I placed in the background are made of cotton, and are hung by fishing line and left within the image to be the trace of the construct. However, with one of my most recent images, which takes a similar form, and, utilizes cotton clouds as well, finds itself with out a trace of the construct.
Now, here I felt while creating this image that the non-discript grey background with contrasting clouds would be sufficient enough to be a visual mark of the virtual. Yet, there is not form that physically shows the structure of it. The job of the viewer has become more fogged as we are no longer positive that those clouds are fake. Yes most could identify them as fake, but where is the trace? what gives you the notion and what evidence do you have? It becomes harder to say exactly what it is that makes those clouds fake, as their ability to assume a real form is strengthened.
I have begun to wonder if my allowance of editing an image to remove the physically visible aspects of the virtual construct out completely negates the idea that we are meant to be viewing an image as such. Could, at this point, we start to view the image as fake and there by discredit the idea that the image is taking the form of imagination taking shape in the real vs we as viewers seeing a surreal perspective into imagination. :/
This last week my second year MFA group show opened in the University at Buffalo’s Visual Studies Gallery in the basement of the CFA on Thursday the 8th. The turnout was better then I thought it might be and the work was fun and interesting. Here are a couple of images of the space.