On the Scale of History
For this project, I have chosen to work with the idea of “history”—and more specifically, with two particular histories of photography, two canonical texts*. Here, it is the books themselves—the vessels and their content—that are used as the principal component and material to generate an image of history.
In the Art History of Photography, viewers encounter a constructed landscape made from an accumulation of three-dimensional forms. Each page from Volker Kahmen’s book has been cut and coiled into a pillar that arbitrarily reveals or conceals fragments from this history. It is through these details of text and imagery that we get a glimpse of the past it seeks to describe.
Camera Lucida is similarly a constructed image yet in this case I present a time-line of sorts, one that traces my visceral response to Roland Barthes’ dialogue with the photographic medium. Visualizing his text in this way, the scale, rhythm of events, and emptiness (the gaps) become prominent—aspects that all speak to the subject at hand, in this case history.
* Volker Kahmen's Art History of Photography (New York: Viking Press, 1974), and Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982).