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Artist Statement

Questioning the Real: Cheap New Worlds

Our preoccupation with mimicking reality has led us on a quest for a “real” that is more real than reality itself.  This cultural obsession with representation seeks ways of producing a virtual reality through our desire for “super-reality”, thereby evading what is actually real.  Our escape to this “super-real” takes place both in the mind and in actual space.  This phenomenon’s origin is unclear, however its manifestations are plentiful throughout history and are continually the focus of discussion concerning new emerging forms of entertainment and science.  Plato’s cave featured in the Republic suggests this desire for the “super-real” through his illustration of captives bound to a large stone and shown re-presented images of the “real”.   One of these desperate souls manages to wrestle free of his bonds and escape the confines of the cave, where he is confronted by an impression of the super-real.  Blinded at first, he is then “presented” a super-real image of a tree.  This image replaces his initial impressions of “reality” formed by the shadows on the wall and forces him to redefine his notion of “tree”.  But is this new super-real tree the “real” tree, or is it another illusion akin to the one produced on the shadowy walls of the cave?

The invention of photographic emulsion was yet another move toward the super-real, as it produces an image more “real” than any other media used to capture our living world.  Photography’s ability to reproduce the real changed our notion of what “real” was supposed to look like and fed our desire for super-reality.  This in turn drove us to create other devices that would reproduce what we saw more accurately.  One such device, the movie camera, allowed us to capture motion, time, place and other aspects of the phenomenal world.  Early films produced by filmmakers such as the Lumière Brothers took our notion of super-reality a step further with films depicting a train entering a station or workers leaving a factory.  The film “A Train Entering the Station” left its audience in fear for their lives, believing that they were about to fall victim to the train as it headed toward them from the horizon.  This virtual reality space created by the black space of the theater and a projected film gave its audience the effect of a super-reality unlike anything they had ever experienced before.  As we view this film today our informed eyes, no longer fooled, understand that the train posses no threat.  We understand that the train is bound to the movie screen by projected light.

This filmic space and its potential is the site for my current experimentation.  Its only limits are the artist’s breadth of imagination, technical skill, and budget.  My project focuses on relationships formed with the “objects” that fill our world and how these relationships inform the landscapes in which they are presented. In much the same style as the Lumière Brothers, I am interested in single point perspective, not due to a technological limitation but rather because I am mainly concerned with framing the object.  The “object” is more than merely the material thing that can be seen or touched; it takes on many forms and can also be a person or thing to toward which action or feeling is directed. Our daily contact with objects not only produces an interaction recorded by physical senses but also mentally through phenomenological impressions.  Enabled by virtual space and the viewer’s desire for the super-real, I chose to explore these objects and examine our notions of the super-real.

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