Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Project Advisor 1
Forms and objects in the spaces around me become arbitrary signifiers for memories rooted in other places. This is how my mind works: the quick-set pool in an unknown family’s backyard becomes the index for sexual intercourse because I happened to be thinking of the act while passing by the apparatus. At first the connection seems coincidental; there is no direct conversation between having sex and a swimming pool purchased at Wal-Mart. But I let the pairing sit for a while and I start to notice patterns that were either initially unnoticed by me or too ingrained in my subconscious. The calm, contained body of water, gently rippling from the pump’s continuous circulation, echoing this motion in the reflection of light onto nearby surfaces becomes analogous to lying on my back lost in the pleasure of intimacy. The connection goes beyond the similarity of pleasurable feelings; for a reason that is too hard to put into words, the pool starts to share the same essence as the sexual act. They become the same thing, inhabiting a shared psychological space and opening up an entirely new one simultaneously. My inability to completely focus on the current moment, constantly living in my own subjective space, fuses bridges between objects still standing and memories once had.
At first I veered towards picking objects from suburbia because I had the impression that they were void of unique signifiers. Mass produced objects seem to be completely ubiquitous and are crucial in making a place seem ‘placeless’. However, as this project continued to grow I realized that even the most identifiable objects contain their own personal qualities that go unnoticed by me in the continuous motion of my life. So while passing by a clothesline attached to a wooden post from the distance of a moving car might not yield any particular attention, when examining the post up close, beyond the boundary of the side of the road, I might begin to notice the graffiti scratched into the side or the peculiarities of the clothes hung high. This happened to the other objects I placed in my installation as well. What was originally just a car, a clothesline, a pool, or a window became a very specific car, clothesline, pool, and window that held their own peculiar purpose or history. I could not ignore the presence of the previous owner in the car or the ‘Summer Escapes’ logo on the side of the pool and I began to realize that these objects that were once ubiquitous to me were anything but. True ‘placelessness’ cannot exist.
The projection mapping technique became more of a means to a conceptual end rather than a mere gimmick for utilizing visual effects that captivate. The goal was to set up a parallel almost-narrative between the objects and the videos being played on them. The objects in the space came from a more closed off narrative string; they were all once located in a similar proximity to one another. The videos came from a much broader experience; we see a trip to the beach (the window) next to my girlfriend on top of me (the pool) next to driving through the Rocky mountains (the clothes) next to a closeup of my cat at home in Atlanta (the bag in the car) next to tripping in the mountains of New Mexico (the cup on top of the car) next to skateboarding through Bard’s campus (the tear in the back seat) next to riding the train underground out of Penn Station (the rear window) next to cruising on a boat along the Amazon river in Peru (the dollar bill on the ground). It does not matter what the experience was or when it happened to me. While taking a boat along the Amazon was a once in a (my) lifetime event, and seeing a dollar bill on the ground happens everywhere I go, they are still both things that have happened to me. They are images, sights that I have seen, and what qualifies significance? There is the subjective emotional feeling that makes one thing seem more crucial, but in the objective sense they are all just things that occupied my time.
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Bauer, Grayling Stefan, "THEREISNOTHERE" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 254.