I see the following projects embodying interrelated themes which are part of a continuum:
vague terrain deconstruction deterioration
Restoration reconstruction rejuvenation
Construct construction creation
The images in Construct have represented a newer direction for my work. Whereas vague terrain and Restoration describe man-made environments that are past their prime, the images in Construct focus on the creation of human-built space, before it has reached its intended reason for being. Seen in these photographs, the soon-to-be occupied spaces show no evidence of everyday use, are devoid of everyday objects and thus, exist as decontextualized structures made purely of raw materials. The resulting ambiguity brings into play the viewer’s own tactile experiences of concrete, dry wall, steel and brick. By turning the initial subject matter into a unique sculptural version of itself, I hope to strip away the visual references to each space’s original function. In fact, I often use the conceptual model of a museum diorama to describe my photographs, where the constructed nature of a scene appears more prominent than its intended purpose.I feel that these images create a new stage on which to view the human-built world, one where the building blocks form the structures for an imagined space. Instead of seeing a building’s intended use as, for example, a school atrium, in these Construct photographs viewers could just as easily envision an obscure archeological site from the past or a science fiction film set in the future.
Interiority in Construct
Response piece to Lisa Stinner-Kun’s exhibition Construct at Martha Street Studio, 2016
In Construct, nothing is ‘in-the-view,’ or no one element within the view is seeking an attention; canceling the descriptive function of the camera. This emptiness, not unlike the vacuum in The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura, constructs a spatiality that implicates the viewer, optically as well as cognitively. In the age of ‘object-philia’, such an emptiness (not nothingness) is an enactment or an invitation to the world of ‘might-be’s’. In this world of ‘might-be’s’, our eyes and minds are strangely synchronized in the endless and inconclusive lingering.
The non-committal and floating nature of the elements within the scenes of the Construct, continuously decompose ongoing temptations to construct cohesive and objective understandings by the viewer. The flotsams in the Construct, are strategic portals where the viewer can escape the scene temporarily. Somewhere in between the viewer’s anecdotes and the scenes, narrative fragments are forged. The blatantly mundane tools within the scene, like the boxes, panels, and the plastic paint pail; fetch the trivial memory fragments within the viewer through their utility, poses, and textures.
Construction permeates our living, or, though it may be a suppressed acknowledgement within the culture of ‘object-phila’, construction “is” the living. The idea of construction presupposes the liminal states of pre and post. Construction then is the state of lag, in between the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. It is the stage of living. As a form of reverse archeological charge, the Construct, take us back to linger within this living stage, the stage of construction. This reverse mobilizes a response from the ‘object-philic’ viewer to move the tiles, peek in, to walk the scaffold, to tie-up the plastic, and to turn off the lights, and so on. But as the viewer engages, the anecdotal moments teased by the elements are hardly long enough to sustain and break the surface of the Construct. Only momentary lags are offered, thickening the engagement without ever establishing depths beyond the scenes.
The immersive scenes, strangely familiar and highly plausible, yet subtly unreal, are staged against partial walls and surfaces without defining edges. Such a labyrinthine perspective without a contextual overview is unsettling for the ‘object-philic’ viewer. The ‘outside’ is nonexistent. This unsettling quality, together with the depthlessness and the thickened lags of the Construct, incorporates the viewer into its interiority, where three layers of space-time co-exists: the fragmented anecdotes of the elements (the pasts), that of the engaged viewer (the now), and the interval that Lisa Stinner-Kun occupied while staging the scenes (the recent past). The ghost time-space is the critical agency that sustains the viewer’s engagement and maintains the anecdotes’ fragmented-ness. The trace of Lisa Stinner-Kun’s staging hands presents her as a co-inhabitant of the scenes, establishing a social dimension with the viewer. Through Construct, Lisa Sinner-Kun offers a lingering of sorts, not an understanding, through momentary co-habitations. Webbed within the tri-layered space-time, a subtle suggestion lingers: to reposition our reality as the perpetuity of Construct.