Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts; Photography

Project Advisor 1

Ben Coonley

Project Advisor 2

Barbara Ess

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In many ways this project evolved from a single image of my mother.

From the moment I discovered the Ektachrome slide in an old box of photographs I was enchanted by its peculiar beauty and strange sense of mystery. In the following months I could not shake the imprint it had left on my mind and I found myself continually coming back to it, trying to dissect it in different ways and trying to make sense of what was so magical to me about the image.

I eventually came to realize that I was struck by its physicality. I could hold it in my hand; I could see the dust collecting on it. The slide projector gave it a life that it never would have had on a screen. There was just something undigital about it.It had not been taken in a digital world with a digital eye. Dirt and scratches laid bare its materiality, and it had a vivid sense of color thanks to the particularities of the film that was used to capture the moment.

I began to see my own image through this image of my mother and it led me to want to discover what was different about an image made of myself today. How is the technology different, how are we different? How has our vision changed?

Through this project, I set out to investigate how identity and self-image are formed in a digital world, attempting to reconcile the analog world of the past and the world of today. Ideas about the evolving and malleable nature of perception and representation that I encountered in Jonathan Crary’s Techniques of the Observer led me to want to trace the evolution of vision. I wanted to explore the altered visual landscape that digital technologies have given us. Grains have become pixels. We expect a digital manipulation before we accept the reality of the strange phenomena before us. Overall, this project evolved into an investigation of the mechanics of vision, the technologies of perception and an attempt to figure out how their transformations have transformed us.

It has become a personal exploration of how the technologies I interact with daily have changed the way I see both my surroundings and myself.

This image of my mother makes its way into numerous pieces in the project. I feel it has become a representation of a visual world I never got to fully experience and has acted as a catalyst for me to want to more fully experience the visual world I live in today.

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