Back from business travels, remodel finished, I have finally been able to focus on my own work (you have no idea how good it feels). I have therefore lot's to share!
Finally got around pulling together my two key projects from last year (and an old one as well). Have a look and tell me what you think:
SHOWS & GALLERIES
REVIEWS & FEATURES
My latest fine-art series 'Passages II: Rest Areas' was recently the subject of two interviews I wanted to share with you (click to open new window):
Let me know what you think!
Several years ago when living in India I came up with an idea to challenge the strong judgements that the society there was projecting on people (chast, age, religion, etc). It never made it into a formal exhibit, so I jumped at the opportunity to revive the concept for an art installation at the 2013 Burning Man.
How do we define identity? Personality? Attraction?
We classify people we meet on a small set of fairly universal parameters: age, gender, occupation, religion, etc. Yet true connections come from a deeper almost subliminal level, often obscured by value judgements based on the above mentioned parameters.
This art inverts the process of discovery of 'strangers' by removing all external references and indicators and only showing larger than life close-up images of eyes of a wide diversity of people.
Each group of eyes is multi-faceted and backlit, confronting participants with multiple giant staring eyes in every direction, day and night.
4 large boxes with four 40" sides (16 pairs of eyes), 2 CFL lights inside each box with Milar reflector, 2 plexiglass panels on each side (1/4" + 1/8") to sandwich 16 36"x17" prints on Display Translucent Backlight film. Solar panel charging 2 deep-cycle batteries burried into the ground (incl. inverter, timer, emergency lights). Each side had a small drawer holding a notebook with a unique question that visitors could answer, data about the person whose eyes were on display, and a full-figure portrait on the last page.
We had weeks of crazy sessions in the studio to capture high resolution close-up images of eyes with no glare or reflections on the pupils (ever tried that?), editing and selecting hundreds of images, and tons of LF printing.
Following are the eyes that made it to the Playa (click on the image to enlarge it and see the detail in the pupils), with the question at the front of the notebook and the data (as written by each subject):
Box 1, pos.1: Phoenix Lewis (2, male, white, no religion, from USA)
The question: Can you see yourself in me?
Box1, pos. 2: Mindy Rodman (56, female, artist, caucasian, no religion, from USA)
The question: What do you believe in?
Box 1, pos. 3: Robert Adler (male, 66, photographer, caucasian, jewish, from USA)
The question: What do we share in common?
Box 1, pos. 4: Smudge (22, female, massage therapist, latin american, ecclectisisisist, from USA)
The question: Where do you think I come from?
Box 2, pos. 1: Molly Deloria (female, 23, student, white, atheist, from USA)
The question: Do I match your expectations?
Box 2, pos. 2: Mikaela Meredith (female, 26, mortician, agnostic, from USA)
The question: Would knowing my job change your impression of me?
Box 2, pos. 3: Ruby Tuesday (female, 30, server - nursing student - educator, white, agnostic/spiritual, from USA)
The question: What do you see in my eyes?
The question: Why did you choose me?
Box 3, pos. 1: Brady Forrest (male, 39, techie, caucasian, atheist, from USA)
The question: Am I a stranger, or am I a friend?
Box 3, pos. 2: Joe Mayo (male, 37, engineer, caucasian, jewishj, from USA)
The question: Do I matter to you?
Box 3, pos. 3: Jean-Francois Gauthier (male, 44, executive gigolo, french canadian, anti-religion, from Canada)
The question: Would we be friends?
Box 3, pos. 4: J Michael Tucker (male, 45, photographer, white guy, spiritual beyond, from USA)
The question: Do I look fearful, or do I inspire fear?
Box 4, pos. 1: Christina Robinson (female, 51, dating relationship advisor, brazilian mutt, catholic, from Brazil)
The question: Do you search for yourself in others?
Box 4, pos. 2: Paul White (male, 59, artist, caucasian, no religion, from USA)
The Question: Does age really matter?
Box 4, pos. 3: Holly Greenberg (female, 42, psychotherapist, american mutt, listening, from USA)
The question: What do you see in me?
Box 4, pos. 4: Ouja (male, 51, engineer, caucasian, quaker, from USA)
The question: What do you feel I'm thinking?
Then the team started to tackle innumerable issues: how do you light four large boxes all night long in the middle of the desert? Will plexi melt at those extreme daytime temperatures? What material should we use for the prints? How do we get even distribution of light on all sides and between center and edges? Will the boxes be strong enough to withstand rain, extreme winds, and people leaning on them? How do we bring those large boxes from San Francisco (CA) to Gerlach (NV)?
Here are the amazing initial drawings from Diana that we submitted for approval. Many things changed (we moved to 4 sided boxes, installed a solar panel to recharge the batteries, etc), many stayed the same.
Well, happy to announce that we answered all questions one by one, worked it all out, got the boxes to the desert, installed them, and got them to work.
Here a few pics of the team hard at work:
The result: an incredible success. They could be spotted from miles away, thousands of people saw them, a constant flow of visitors day and night throughout the week, and the most amazing and heart-touching notes and comments in the notebooks (more on this to follow).
Here a few images of the installation completed on day one:
A few pics of the installation at night (from Alessandro de Sogos):
Here a few pics of the installation on the last night ('burn night'), in the middle of a crazy wind storm in which you could hardly see your own feet:
Innumearble other people generously donated their time to help us model, build, transport, install.
Many thanks to the wonderful eye volunteers (underlined the ones that got selected): Phoenix Lewis, Paget Norton, Mindy Rodman, Elaine Toland, Robert Adler, Mindi Wagner, Smudge, Gary Babad, Molly Deloria, Mikaela Meredith, Peony Layne, Ruby Tuesdae, Laura Maples, Seonok Lee, Kelly Blanchard, Joe Mayo, Diana Martinez, Emily Green, Jean-Francois Gauthier, Jenkat, J Michael Tucker, Cristina Robinson, Kurian Davis, Paul White, Jordan Weitz, Brady Forrest, Holly Greenberg.
Many thanks also to the crew that helped build, transport, and install. Among them:
And finally, a photo of our installation was picked up by Reuters and is among the 5-10 images going viral to visually represent Burning Man 2013 across the world. Check out a few examples I found:
My new series 'Passages II: Rest Areas' saw the light for the first time this summer at the outdoor exhibit THE FENCE at Photoville in Brooklyn (with over 1 million visitors!!).
Here it is on display (thank you Gesche for taking the photo and thank you Sam for the opportunity!):
As a result of the visibility, the series was then published on the FastCompany blog.
The series also won the PDN 'World in Focus' series award and individual images have won in various other awards (International Loupe Awards, APA, etc).
Nice to get some positive reinforcement now and then!
I wanted to share some interesting articles and collaboration projects that came out recently (click on the titles to open the related page):
Thanks to Kelsey Campbell-Dolloghan (and for opening with Alexis de Tocqueville!!).
The voice is from my cousin Cristina, I helped with a little slideshow. The effect is quite interesting.
Here are the links for the series the above projects are based on (click on the title to be redirected):
What do you think? Which one speaks to you?
You are invited this coming Saturday April 21 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM for the opening reception of my new series 'Peregrinations' at the PHOTO fine-art gallery in Oakland.
The address is 473 25th Street, Oakland CA.
This is a series of long exposures while traveling in different parts of the world, attempting to capture both movement in time and space and substance.
The fortuitous element of randomness removes the photographer’s socio-cultural projections into the image, while the resulting negation of identifiable references removes the viewer’s projections and asks for an emotional rather than rational response.
This series reveals the memories and feelings that are allowed to come through with use of abstraction to remove the physicality of place.
I am finally back in town, after two months abroad (more on that to come).
Lot's of exciting news to share, among which my new personal record: 16 awards in 2 months!
COMPETITIONS & AWARDS
(click on titles to get directed to the award web sites)
(click on titles to get directed to the show web sites)
ARTICLES & PRESS
(click on titles to get directed to the web sites)
Just moments before heading to the airport for our two months adventure in Italy, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka I open one last email: I got the first prize in the APA 'Naked' photo competition! What a great and exciting way to start the journey!
If you are in San Diego on September 15th, swing by the Subtext gallery (2479 Kettner Blvd., 6:00-10:00 PM) for the show opening: live music, silent auction, drinks.
Here are the four images that got selected (click to enlarge):