That Burning Field
An ongoing series which takes the American poet Charles Wright’s notion of the negative sublime as raw material, blending creation and effacement - revealing inverted immensities.
The fading physical presence of media represents a profound break with past modes of consumption, distribution, exchange and storage.
Seeking to explore the declining role of tangible media as containers of culture and guardians against future uncertainty, Exit Ghost transforms and disturbs these media by ignoring their content, focusing instead on the performance of surface. The series presents medium minus message in order to reveal the last traces of media as a physical entity (“Appearing as disappeared”) and a cultural residue.
The images are created by the physical movement of mass-market media - books, CDs and DVDs - during scanning. The flatbed scanner re-performs these objects through the confusion of movement, leaving an image that is the residue of the soon-to-be-obsolete scanner’s incomprehension.
Alongside these scans are the tangible presences of books, vinyl, cassette tape, VHS tape, CDs, and DVDs.
Edmond Jabès’ last act was to drop the book he was reading. The late Egyptian-Jewish poet believed that “making a book could mean exchanging the void of writing for writing the void.”
Witness and body, breath and bread, field and ground, for Jabès the book was all of these. “This portion of dark where the light wears thin.”
Falling Volume follows Jabès' obsession with the place of the book and the space of the page. Testing for resistance, it seeks the beyond of the book.
Combining eye and hand, page and screen, flyleaves from Jabès' The Book of Shares have been manipulated during scanning, in order to explore that which supports and enables the word.
Arguably the finest achievement of Albrecht Dürer's early years was The Apocalypse with Pictures, a set of fifteen woodcuts of scenes from the Book of Revelation, published in 1498. Apokalypsis takes Dürer’s print St. John Devouring the Book as an allegory of mediation. In his own hand the evangelist transcribes the sacred words he is consuming, despite the certainty of infidelity. Perfection seems as distant as revealed truth, even as the text itself warns against its corruption.
Apokalypsis intervenes, involving the physical movement of a printed image during scanning. Blending hand and machine, these actions variously fracture or extend the image, inviting slips and flaws revelatory of technological frailties, as well as the ambiguities inherent within analogue and digital processes of artistic creation.
Haptic evasions, these occupied images are rendered fields of possibility, with destruction and creation entangled. Arresting not instants but unfoldings, they assert that the image is legion, creating conditions for its interior immensity to emerge, conditions enabled by performing against protocol.
Thus, Apokalypsis considers the nature of inspiration, mediation and originality, in relation to the book. With an appropriated piece of an image taken as seed, its skin variously stretched or torn, these images also reveal the inverse relationship between resolution and speed.
Here, touch is taken as a connection between the making of the digital scan and the analogue methods that created the print so appropriated. Revealing a lingering physicality in the digital ecology, the finger bridges the worlds: drags the tangible image into the digital immaterial.
Dürer's hand draws the line of the hand of the saint – that of Apokalypsis extends it.
Treating New York City as surface, symptom and attitude, XNYZ extends the idea of the city beyond mere geography.