The World is Round

I'll be the first to admit that the seven parts of this photographic project are sprawling. These parts represent different threads in my studio practice that seeks, broadly, to understand how we come to terms with abstract ways of thinking about the landscape:

 — Staring at the Sky and the Screen
 — Dreaming of Other Celestial Bodies
 — Wondering What They're Looking at
 — Breaking Branches and Bending Grids
 — Measuring Half-lives on the Horizon
 — Traversing Lines on the Map
 — Drawing Towards Significant Change

For much of human history, we’ve relied on the five senses to understand our surroundings. But these evolved senses can’t give us a complete picture, especially when confronted with ideas beyond direct observation, such as globalization. For these situations, we’ve come to rely on a combination of abstract thought and technology to grasp complex concepts. Using these tools, we can begin to understand a world beyond ourselves, and even learn how our senses can mislead (though the data from these tools can certainly be misused as well).

For example, based on direct observation the world seems flat, right? When philosophers and mathematicians first proposed the earth’s roundness, they were at odds with religious beliefs. But then astronomers noticed that this idea worked out very well with their calculations of planetary movements, and it started gathering momentum. Circumnavigating the globe provided a more direct proof. And finally, this could be observed most concretely through photographs of the earth from space. Yes, the world is round. And paradigm shifts like this one are vital to understanding our complicated planet. We need to learn how to "think globally."

Photography has been a critical tool in my quest to make sense of the world. And this series of images is a playful attempt to consider how photography and other imaging technologies, as well as photographic history, has been fundamental to such paradigm shifts. I've identified five overarching themes that I employ in this series to do so, and these themes help to organize this sprawling body of work.

These leaps in abstract thinking are often aided by new technological tools, and these technologies are becoming a more and more integral part of our daily lives. Yet reluctance to trust these abstract data persists, especially when the data are at odds with our sensory perception of the world. In the face of climate change and unprecedented globalization, we need to work to develop a deeper understanding of how technology can reveal hidden aspects of our planet. 

These images are playful attempts to integrate nature and nurture. I hope that they act as riddles to reconsider perceptions and preconceptions about the global landscape. I seek to simultaneously hold contradictory ideas about the world and consider the divide between what is directly observable and the limits of what we can measure and comprehend. Photography is a central technology in this, and rather than focus on the current perceived divide between digital and film, I consider the history of photography as a continuously morphing and dynamic medium. 

Using Format