The full version of the animation will be projected through this photograph —a composite of four Oakland locations where 5 people were shot to death in the span 18 hours. The murders were unrelated, but if 5 in 18 was the “murder rate” in Oakland, 2434 people would die annually.
Frequently in Oakland, you hear the body count, which I am sure they do in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, and Buffalo. Sometimes it may be a few days before I turn the radio on to hear it rise. What does that number mean? What happens on New Years eve? That moment of reset which starts the cycle off, with a bang, and then another, and another.
In 2005 I climbed to the top of a hill that overlooked Pyramid Lake, in the Truckee River Basin of Nevada. I set up my camera, and took 200 photos of the sunset. What started as a time lapse panorama has lived in my archive for 8 years. In a way I was asked to consult this archive recently, and while I remember most of that trip, I distinctly remembered these images.
I remember running out of water on the hike; I remember about 6 of us going up, but that only two of us stayed until the sun finally sank behind the horizon.
I wondered how the photos themselves remembered that evening, and so I used Photoshop to interrogate them. This is what they had to say.
Einstein has an interesting thought experiment using the train.
What physically comes to mind—that is what I think about when I think about the space of the train, the tracks, and the landscapes surrounding the tracks—is the degree of difference between the visible and the invisible. There are certain parameters that the train sets, and without stepping from this mediated, repeated process (without getting off of the train) one is led into to a very particular and peculiar situation.
There are things in the world, that have been seen hundreds of thousands or millions of times, and these things are right next to others, connected to others, and blocking others, that can’t be seen from the train, which have only been produced from a position other than the train. Unless a person seeks out these invisible sites by other means, she is limited to the same restrictive valence as those before her.
Is it possible to get atop the train? Hang from its side? Build a tower, or a periscope for it? Do we always have to get off of the train? When we get off, then what about the rest of the track—all of the other visible and invisible realities? Even if we could get off, would seeing these spaces between for ourselves be enough? What would it take to account for their multivalent production?
I have been rapidly imaging the bridge with my iPhone, compositing the photos, as well as constructing animations from them to refigure the perceptibility of the bridge. I am interested in layering moments into arbitrary singular phenomena. By presenting a things Image from a multiplicity of valences at once, I am replicating the array of positions and imaginaries that exist in the world, which when approaching that thing, should be taken into consideration. There is a sort of, hidden hand of privileged people, which controls or guides the way most people remember things. This is what Antonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony”. Cultural hegemony for example, would want an image of the bridge taken from a distance, clearly focused, and include the whole bridge in one moment. To cultural hegemony, what I have created is not in fact an image “of” the bridge. Because, I was driving across the bridge, and took over 60 blind photos between the toll plaza and the western descent, while randomly moving my camera, which I combined into one image. My images transgress its bounds.