Monday 23 September 2013

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Schrödinger’s Cat

The technical foundation for my works in series is the unpicking of the notion of ‘immediate nostalgia’(as defined by Susan Sontag in On Photography). They are not intended to be filmic although some are clearly de-constructions of an event between two fixed points. The most accurate comparison is a contact sheet of the Eadweard Muybridge collotypes, removed from his Zoopraxiscope. These images viewed from a contemporary perspective can now be interpreted beyond their original scientific context; they are a philosophical observance of interruptions in the timeline. In this sense, work in series is an acknowledgement of multiple alternatives that lead up to and go beyond the notion of a single 'defining moment.'

Eadweard Muybridge

A couple of examples, shot in the same week;

Boy Shaving his Head is traditionally Zoopraxiscopic. The timeline is discussed with ‘frames’ leading up to, during and after the ‘cutting’. Allegorically this series explores a notion of relative absence and the removal of and damage to, self. Existence is threatened by our own action. The ‘self-shaving’ is a re-enacted, private subjugation and acknowledgment of homogeny in our despair; a ritual humiliation asserted in the tradition of concentration camps and mental asylum.

'Trees Marked for Felling' is repetitive and this series views the timeline from a different frame of reference (the camera as observer is moving); allegorically it explores a recurring personal theme of emotional progress. Although we are ‘marked' (both from birth, as a genetic predisposition or from the scarring of a traumatic event) each is a separate, unique universe responding to a shared societal experience. The yellow markings are a device that declares a pre-determined future, whilst archiving a previous existence. It is the paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat, that an object can both exist and not exist in the same moment.

Schrödinger's thought experiment goes further in discussing that the observance of something changes its very nature. As observers we are altering the molecules of the immediate universe in our view, like a Werner Herzog documentary; the very force of his artistic personality shaping the landscape to fit his unique vision. A more obvious example is this record of an execution staged for an audience. The film (see link below image) captures the timeline like the Muybridge collotypes leading up to and after the famous defining moment captured by Eddie Adams.

Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla, 1968 © Eddie Adams

The difference between us and Schrödinger is that we are observing the cat in the box and we must accept the inevitable affect our presence has on any moment.