Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan" officially completed

One project down, eight more to go...

All the images are printed, inventoried, stored and are now online! In fact, the website even has a brand new look. Now to tackle a dozen tasks that have nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer.

Monday, June 25, 2018

One year ago today, I was in Greenland and ...

Ilulissat Icefjord, 2017

... fourteen months after I started reading it, I finished Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams this week. As it was published in 1986, the prevailing thought was wishing he would return to the far north and write a new book of what has happened since. So much has changed with the physical landscape but his meditations on history and our personal relationship with place have not. Here are four of my favorite passages with three images from the old iPhone.

From Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams:

"... we bring our own worlds to bear in foreign landscapes in order to clarify them for ourselves. It is hard to imagine that we could do otherwise. The risk we take is of finding our final authority in the metaphors rather than the land. To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then is to provoke thoughts about one's own interior landscape, and the familiar landscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves."

Sermermiut, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2017

"No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind; how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's own culture but within oneself. If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradictions were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light."

East Greenland, Flight from Nuuk to Reykjavik, Iceland

"The edges of any landscape - horizons, the lip of a valley, the bend of a river around a canyon wall - quicken an observer's expectations. That attraction to borders, to the earth's twilit places, is part of the shape of human curiosity."

"It is in the land, I once thought, that one searches out and eventually finds what is beautiful. And an edge of this deep and rarified beauty is the acceptance of a complex paradox and the forgiveness of others. It means you will not die alone."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan"

Imogen Cunningham, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

In the spring of 2017, I checked out the publication Heinecken from the Ball State University library. Horrified by the sheer amount of plates that were removed, I wondered what equivalent methods of destruction occurred today. Immediately Judy Dater’s Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite came to mind as it is the photograph most flipped over and hidden (therefore riddled with pushpins) of the hundreds that fill the walls of the photography classroom. I was compelled to “fix” this so I ordered books to scan and print copies to replace both the defaced Dater and the missing Heineckens.

Ball State University's Copy of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait, 2017

Two discoveries simultaneously occurred: Ball State’s Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait featured a high contrast copy of Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite as the original page had been removed. Also, the cover of Imogen Cunningham looked conspicuously censored after it arrived from a neighboring institution. Thus began two collaborations with the Interlibrary Loan librarian – one of which she knew and the other she did not.

Gary Schneider: Nudes, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

I culled all the new arrivals of contemporary art online bookstores and I took note of missing titles from the history of photography that the university did not own. I searched for books that the librarian might deliberately arrange the sticker or white band with my check-out information over “offending” parts of the human body, and unbeknownst to her, I documented the results.

Joel-Peter Witkin: Vanitas, Received, Revealed and Returned, 2017 - 2018

The books were scanned upon arrival, the information was moved to other areas revealing what was once concealed, and rescanned before their return. There were a few surprises along the way. As I carefully pulled back the adhesive, I found the loaning library placed the sticker in another location and Ball State moved it to a less offending area or they added white paper to the book’s cover.

Helmut Newton: Sumo, Received, Returned and Revealed, 2017 - 2018

Helmut Newton’s Sumo included a “Booklet” inside with the same cover image and a label shielding the model’s feet. I was taken aback that the front was censored but the interior was not. After careful inspection, it was noticeable that someone altered the label and rearranged it over the model’s torso prior to it coming into my possession. 

After awhile, the interactions with nudity became predictable and I began to speculate how the librarian would encounter violence or whether or not she was a cat or dog person (clearly preferring canines). 

Richard Jonas: Rescue Me, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

One Dozen Copies of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait, 2017

The known collaboration consisted of the librarian obtaining permission to request eleven copies of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait so I could take a photograph of twelve versions of page 126 and compare how many were missing and whether or not the library resolved it. I placed a new print inside the books where Imogen and Twinka were absent.

Robert Heinecken: A Material History, 2017 - 2018 

As for Heinecken, the ripped pages were integrated into a larger project, Robert Heinecken’s Vanishing Photographs: Myth and Loss Reimagined. I have always been inspired by his screen-printing a Viet Cong soldier over advertisements in periodicals then returning them to newsstands and doctor’s offices. Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan was my version of his guerilla actions of the 1970s.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Spencer Finch's "Great Salt Lake and Vicinity"

Spencer Finch, Great Salt Lake and Vicinity, 2017 (Pantone chips and pencil)

Laurie Blakeslee sent me a link to Spencer Finch's Great Salt Lake and Vicinity on Instagram yesterday. I haven't stopped thinking about it mainly because it is an ingenious example of site specific artwork featuring a collaboration with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Secondly, I quickly fall for re-purposing Pantone colors and making them into a vessel to describe personal experience. It involves studious observation, a journey, and a collection ending with 1,132 chips traversing the landscape from Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty to the UMFA.

Spencer Finch, Great Salt Lake and Vicinity, 2017 [Image via Hyperallergic]

From The Utah Review:

"The work constitutes a richly detailed field observational guide, created as Finch spent several days circumnavigating the Great Salt Lake. Finch selected Pantone swatches that corresponded precisely to the meticulous scientific-like observations he made of the colors during his trip. He also labeled in pencil each swatch with the originating source of color, which included trees, lake algae blooms, native birds of prey and other elements he observed as he circled the Great Salt Lake."