These past few days of studio time have been a different experience for me. When I strictly did photo, I was always creating miniature sets and objects in order to photograph. Since the Spring of 2018, I feel that I have not worked with my hands very much at all. Most of the work I have done has been going out and searching for items that can be appropriated into my work. Since last week I have been working on a small “Native American” totem figure. It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least. I have never sculpted anything figural before. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever sculpted anything in an additive manner. The piece has been totally fabricated using a large cardboard tube, tin foil, painter’s tape, and paper pulp. The entire piece, unlike my other found objects, has been totally crafted by my hand. If the piece works, it will add a new angle to my series and may even answer some questions from it’s previous state.
My photography has always been a little more than just going out and finding a photograph. I typically have a scene in mind and then I create it myself–in miniature of course. My final project during my senior portfolio in undergrad class was no exception. The series was a “documentary” of an excavation of a dragon. My goal for this project was to try and push my photography in a different direction–what direction this was, I did not know I wanted it to be more than just photos on a wall. Alongside the images were typed journal entries that described the journey to the dragon’s location and during the excavation. As little of a step as this seemed, it lead my work into a new direction.
After this series, I began another “documentary”. This time was a excavation of a floating tower that was that was discovered by a group of German tycoons in the late 1800s. The series was titled Der Zauberer vom Bodensee, which is translated to the wizard of lake Constance. Included in the series will be images inside and outside of the tower, items from inside the tower, and other artifacts that belonged to the excavation crew. This series is currently on hold but will continue upon conclusion of my current body of work.
LIttlefork became what it is because of these ideas of fabricated documentary and appropriation of objects. The work in this series is displayed as though it were in a museum. Currently there is little photography in Littlefork but, to me, it’s fun because it has given me a chance to explore other mediums and incorporate sculpture, sound, found objects, writing, and soon video into my work. It has already been a crazy journey, and I still have yet to scratch the surface of possibilities for the series.
I have been saying that my current work is about the “experience” and narrative/story and all that jazz. It came to me recently that I now know what kind of experience it is.
In video games (and table top games) you(r) character gains experience the more more you play it. Some games show a physical bar for your character’s experience–an experience bar. Typically, you can experience from killing things, achieving goals, finding secrets, etc. When your experience bar fills, your character goes up a level. When you level, stats increase and you gain new skills–you gain knowledge. With higher stats, new skills, and new knowledge you are able to progress in the game–you get to continue the story.
In my work, viewers gain experience while looking at my work and learning about my story. The more they learn from their experience, the more they learn about my story and the more they can progress throughout the installation.