Title

Visitations

Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Photography

Project Advisor 1

Stephen Shore

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Visitations

And the wind shall say: ‘Here were decent godless

people:

Their only monument the asphalt road

And a thousand lost golf balls.

-T.S. Eliot

A blind man in a toga wanders into a bar. The bartender noticing that the man does not fit the profile of his usual clientele politely asks the man “how’s it going?” The blind man, locating the source of the bartender’s voice, faces the bartender, raises a smile and replies, “I could tell you, but it’s going to be a long story.”

Unlike in the times of the blind man in the toga where each rendition tended to encompass and build upon the previous telling, the passage of information, in this mystery-deprived world, has begun to atrophy (see, clogged garbage disposal). There is a problem with language, an error in verbal description and communication that occurs when stories become second, third, fourth hand. Even our sense of humor feels compressed, with three letters now fulfilling the role once held by the sound of laughter.

Am I being a nervous comedian avoiding the punch-line? The truth is I know exactly what I am doing here: I want to tell you a story and I want you to believe me. I want you to trust what you see. The composition of a joke relies not only on its conclusion, but in the set-up, in its leading you from the realm of fact and into that of the bizarre. Here in these photographs are imagined explanations for a world that we believe no longer needs any explanation, where all signs of the supernatural and divine are left for scientists to decry. These are documents from a known world, their intention of inexplicability often as apparent as their plea for banality. These are documents from an estranged world. This is an attempt at staging a reexamination of the fantastical and phenomenal by the hordes of disillusioned. This is a celebration of mythos through its reduction into still image.

A man falls asleep one night and dreams about his childhood home in New Jersey, his family of five, his golden retriever Rex and his mother’s beef lasagna only to wake up with the realization that he has never been to New Jersey nor had he recognized any of their faces. Come to think of it, he’s allergic to dogs and hates lasagna anyway. But, boy, did they did have great taste in furniture.

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