The Struggle to Right Oneself

Philosopher Martin Heidegger described human existence as a process of perpetual falling, placing individual responsibility on each of us to catch us from our own uncertainty. Over the past fifteen years my work has focused on questions regarding the nature of control and its effects on this perceived responsibility. For beyond the basic laws that govern and maintain our equilibrium, we live in a world that constantly tests our stability in various other forms. War and rumors of war, issues of economic security, effects of globalization, environmental policy and the politics of identity are all external gravities turned inward, serving to further threaten the precarious balance of self, exaggerating negative feelings of control.

This long-term project, which lies as the intersection of performance art and staged photography, is in response to this delicate state. The exploration resides within the sublime metaphorical space where balance has been disrupted and the definitive point-of-no-return has been met. It asks the questions of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. What are the consequences of holding on?

Using myself as model and with the aid of climbing gear and rigging, I stage scenarios depicting my body caught in a state of perpetual motion. From plummeting off dangerous precipices to tumbling down a flight of stairs, the captured gesture of the body is designed for plausibility of action, grounding the image in reality. However, it is the ambiguity of the body’s position in space that requires the viewer to resolve the full meaning. Do we fall? Can we fly? If we fly then loss of control facilitates supreme control.

It is necessary to point out that I do not consider myself a glorified stunt man; nor do I wish to become a sacrifice to art. Safety is imperative. However, the work carries an inherent risk and potential for personal injury as I engage the moment. This is unavoidable as much of the strength of the images lie in the fact that they are all recorded on location.

The attention to figurative space and color palette of my work is informed by my background in sculpture and painting. The large format presentation is cinematic and important to establish a direct relationship between the image and viewer. Standing as ominous life-sized messages, they are reminders that we are all vulnerable to losing our footing and grasp. Moreover, these images convey the primal qualities of the human condition as a precarious balancing act between the struggle against our desire to survive and our fantasy to transcend our humanness.

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