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In I am half-sick of shadows, I’m engaging with formal elements of questioning space and flatness to discover how they translate political and social subject matter. Using photographs printed in National Geographic magazines from the 1960’s and political imagery from magazines today, I’m creating diorama installations drawn from staged moments in politics from which I am generating a large-scale photo for exhibition. The pseudo-organic essence of these staged moments, ranging from JFK’s idealized Camelot presidency to the branded outrageousness of Donald Trump, interests me in this idea of flattening space. Though the lives of these two political figures are highly complex, as they must create a bite-size persona to advertise to constituents and others—a condensing of themselves. To represent the quality of a staged life, I take two-dimensional photographs from magazines that represent three-dimensional space, then remove figures from their context by cutting them out and create a vignette in a new three-dimensional space. Using mirrors and photography, these spaces and figures are flattened again.

The confusion of space creates the sense of unease I feel when observing these highly-calculated moments of political staging. As a dancer and choreographer myself, I’m very observant of body posture and relationships between figures—these calculated and crafted figures reek of inauthenticity when placed in these false-natural scenarios. I take the spatial bodily relationships from these scenarios and create non-linear narratives. There is a sense of distortion and unease when realizing society hasn’t learned how to get better—especially now, where it feels as though we’re moving backwards in progress. I attempt to create a new paradigm where one can challenge the linear nature of history by creating dioramas where the explicit narrative is not given, but the sense of spatial disorientation and the relationship of figures to each other is uncertain and raw—the cut-out edges of the images and sharp corners of the mirrors add to this unadulterated quality. The figures and images are abstracted, making the viewer unsure of their mental relationship to the scenario. The large scale of the photograph will also question the viewer’s spatial relationship to the photo. The viewer identifies with the figures in the piece, but cannot discern a clear connection between all parts. The conglomeration of abstracted images and figures from history and present causes a sense of ambiguity in creation—a loss of understanding of the narrative in the process of production.

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