Picturing, 35mm slides (installation view) / 2018
1, 2, 3. Picturing Montecito
4, 5. Picturing Santa Rosa
6. Picturing Boynton
7. Picturing Jacksonville
8. Picturing Bensen Beach
Images picturing Hurricane Michael, the 2018 Indonesia tsunami, and the 2018 Sweden wildfires are forthcoming.
The images used in Picturing are found online journalistic documentations of the recent fires that ravaged Santa Rosa, the lethal mudslides in Montecito, as well as the destruction Hurricane Irma caused across the Eastern United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba and many other island countries.
I ‘mummify’ these journalistic images to attend to trauma and witness, drawing inspiration from film theorist Andre Bazin’s concept of mummification. Bazin contends that film “mummifies” change, rendering death and violence repeatable.
By applying Neosporin to the camera’s lens, I reference Pictorialist techniques – a mummification that re-enacts the romantic journalism of the original images. I then converted these images into 35mm slides for projection in order to make them more tangible, and more importantly, more filmic. Through the material interventions of these images, my works preserve the trauma contained in them, as in a Freudian repetition compulsion; however, the same mummification processes soften their severity, their punctum.
I understand mummification as a preservation through an incomplete negation – one that leaves only a blurred allusion to the journalistic original. It is also a psychoanalytic treatment which breaks the grip of the past by bringing repressed material to consciousness.