My mentor for this semester is the incomparable Helen Hoffelt, and we had our first official mentor meetup yesterday. I came out with my brain on fire, but in the best possible way. I just had so many thoughts and ideas fighting for dominance in my brain. I came in with a solid concept, so I felt pretty confident about that, but I was a little unsure of how I wanted the finished product to look and how I wanted the viewer to experience it. After our meeting, I have more of an idea of how the images will look, but even more conflicting thoughts about viewership.
Conceptually, my project is about the commodification of nature, and the way image has come to replace experience. As all things, what it’s “about” isn’t necessarily what it’s “about,” so I will elaborate that the concept was born out of a cross-country 7 month trip I took with my father, during which we lived in a ’98 Safari van and tent camped every night. When we came home, I had amassed thousands of pictures from all the National and State Parks we had visited. When people asked to see them, I would show a single picture of a place before they would say something flippant like, “Oh, the Grand Canyon. Where else did you go?” One picture was all it took for them to feel as if they understood my experience of being there. It started a chain thought process that is finally coming to fruition, but it has been rattling around in my brain for about 3 years now.
I want to work with combining multiple images to create a new whole, but, rather than layering the images, I want to align them next to one another. The more I thought about it, the more fragmented and barcode-like I wanted it to be. Helen suggested that I find a way to make the photographs into actual, working barcodes, so I am exploring that possibility. Animation, time-based, computer-based, and installation were all thrown into the mix of ideas, so I have a lot of pinning down to do. I would MUCH rather have editing to do than feel as though I am stuck on a non-working concept, so I am quite happy.
Here are my preliminary digital sketches, which probably will reflect the finished product in a very minimal way.