A woman trapped in her cell phone at the foot of a stairwell in Grand Central Station, New York City, 2019.
Every epoch brings a technological tool that supplants human personal and social paradigms, erasing something in us with golden patinas of advancement hiding under sheep's clothing the very materials and tools of mass power.
It keeps surprising me how the artist inside my head projects something from my unconscious unto something and someone completely outside of my body and self. Which begs infinite questions about the true inner workings of "realities" proposed by the brain. From neuroscience to philosophy to even leftover glimmers of theological propositions because with all our advancement we can still not disqualify the metaphysical or supernatural. But let me not digress - again.
Because this is what I see here: A woman trapped by a tool as bright in the photograph as a tiny star, so lost in it her body is not allowed to stand at a point that makes sense. It almost seems that she came full stop at a wall in a labyrinth without being aware that she is in a labyrinth. The fool's gold color of the hand railing points to promises that are just that, fool's gold. She is so close to an entry or exit point and yet her body language conveys she is not aware of that entry point. Nothing in her frame points to an exit. I must have been using a telephoto lens and must have been mesmerized by her entrapment that I shifted the length of the lens rapidly while the slow-shutter release of taking the photograph took place so that I captured the same things at two separate lens lengths with the trailing ghost of the same items smearing in between the points. And I am reminded of electrons spinning at the speed of light around atom nuclei if one could get a visual glimpse of that this is what it might look like given our human limitations.
And so inside the sketch inside my head, now projected onto the woman documented here, is first, then the woman acquires a gender-less faceless unknown stenceling of all faces everywhere. Then all the items in the photograph are iterated: the stairwell railing, the woman, her cell phone, even the ghostly figures above the scene. And this is what cell phones do today. They have become tools of power over the individual consciousness, implanting and iterating ad nauseam desire and behaviors so that we may not know if our body stops at a non-human point in the architectural habitat it traverses. And so the powers are truly re-shaping consciousness to satisfy economic commodities at so clearly here the expense of human well-being.
From emotion to behavior, to the very innards and structures of the psyche, an architecture of the individual consciousness of the human animal is being fabricated right before our eyes in a way that is already a done deal without us the user having any awareness of how it steers us oxen-like to stand lost in the wrong part of a maze. How many commodity-shaped selves of each one of us are re-wired, ehem, grafted rather on top of what should be an individual by the current misuse of technology? Is it not clear here, dear viewer? Don't you, viewer, see yourself here, and there, and everywhere all day and night, being guided where to stand? Because power wants you there in a physical place it can control you, absolutely. Fool's gold inside the color purple of power and death made diaphanous by the brainwashing of post-industrial easy-pickings psychology.
Would you let anyone, any stranger, enter your house, go through your closet, through every single one of your thoughts and things without your permission? Would you let anyone enter your home and "guide" you to certain news or friends or situations on an everyday basis, select things for you, point you to stories that reinforce your stereotypes, and agitate you against others? Well, all of that and so much more is what you allow that cell phone in your hand to do. This lady is you, dear viewer.
"That straight line you walk is the arch of an infinite circle." Jorge Luis Borges. Not written exactly as this in his short work, "Abenjacan..." I always wonder that it wasn't really a circle, because Borges may have thought it a parody and I wondered that he must have been aware that it wasn't parody but a fact that our species creates things that ultimately enslave it when it creates them following the edicts of a system of production. And so as long as we allow ourselves to be trapped by the dictums of a system of production, we will iterate the enslavement of consciousness over and over again. So, I think Borges knew in his heart of hearts that it wasn't a parody, or a circle, but an ellipsis.
So sorry, dear viewer, if I come across as insufferably highfalutin here and everywhere. Just things that go through my mind about the nature of our reality the way water goes down our windpipe when we are thirsty.
"That straight line you walk is the ellipsis on an infinite circle." This is my adaption.
"Enuf said," Henry used to say.
Year created: 2019
Image Size: 50” x 40” (127 x 101.6 cm)
Sheet Size: 51” x 41” (129.5 x 104.1 cm)
Media: Archival Pigment Print
Edition of 3 + 1 AP
(AP not for sale)
Prints are titled, dated, numbered, and signed on verso.
Certificate of authenticity will be provided.
Tel: 347.772.9370 in New York City