Transfer is an experimental photographic study using tableware and direct sunlight. This study was undertaken as an exploration of signal transference, mediation, and pattern recognition. The components used recall the elements of a traditional still-life construction, but the results bear no resemblance. The images produced and presented have not been manipulated for effect, but are simply a record of the informational transactions between the sun, the object, and the camera — or in terms of communication, the transmitter, the filter, and the receiver.

These images, as with all still-life images, exist in the continuum between formalism and semiotics. The history and tradition of still-life is nearly as long as that of human image making, but are these images a study of pure light and form or are they a study of symbolic objects and their situational rhetorical vocabularies? At what point in our communications stream do we grant the attribute of meaning to what is otherwise simply data?

Transfer is on exhibit at the IMRC Center of University of Maine from November 27 to December 1. More info….

Capstone Thesis – Shikoku Henro

A map of the island’s temples, from the guidebook, ‘Shikoku Japan 88 Route Guide’ by Buyodo Co. Ltd

Over the summer of 2015, I wrote my Capstone (undergraduate thesis) for a BA in Art History, on the basis of 8 weeks of on-site research I did in 2006, on the Shikoku pilgrimage of Japan. The Shikoku Henro (or pilgrimage) is a 1200km long trail based on the movements of the patron saint of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. Henro (pilgrims) walk an ancient loop that chains 88 temples together, over 4 prefectures and all kinds of terrain: from cities, highways, and farmland to beaches, flood plains, and remote mountain passes. This Capstone paper presents the pilgrimage in a hybrid format: part personal narrative, part methodological exploration.

Presented as an Art History Capstone project, this paper hopes to explore a number of modal factors at work in the application of methodological questions to a subject of material culture. While using a more strictly academic approach may generate some insights and demonstrate a general facility with the primary tools of the field, I will argue that in employing a more personal, even narrative, voice, not only can I meet the challenge of contributing something that expresses a sufficiently critical approach, but also show that useful and necessary perspectives can be lost when we limit ourselves to the formal language and expository prose favored by modern scholarship and accepted discursive modalities.