Everywhere And Nowhere Simultaneously

Matterhorn/Nowhere
Matterhorn/Nowhere

As usual, I am going to ramble along as I work out a few ideas that have been lingering in that cobwebby part of my brain I rarely use. I am referring to the creative/artistic part of me that has been languishing recently as I focus my life on more practical tasks like paying bills, working, and looking like a normal human being.

For the first time in about a year I can honestly say I have a project I am working on. During this summer, I became obsessed with the acquisition of “placeless photographs.” By this I mean photographs of locations that are artificial by construction (such as my collection of Knoll office furniture images from the 1960s) or by incident (such as the 1970s Swedish mountain valley wall mural I purchased at a garage sale).

The latter image and concept has my attention on this very rainy, dismal morning. I would be grateful to be anywhere else right now – even if that meant going to the highly artificial mountain valley in that overly dot-patterned image rolled up in a tube next to my sofa. Despite being highly cliche pieces of kitsch, the paste-up wall mural resonates with personal and cultural history. I remember being in 7th grade, acne-covered, pubescent, and awkward… my only escape during the prison of middle school was memorizing the geographic features on the enormous world map hastily pasted the the classroom walls. On the flip side, my friend Maryann’s grandparents had a forest scene adhered to their dining room walls. I can still remember the contrast of looking out into their bleak, yellow-grass back yard one winter and then being struck by how etherial and strange the half-tone patterned image of idyllic nature on their wall looked.

World Map/Nowhere
World Map/Nowhere

Everywhere and Nowhere…

What, really, is the purpose of these images? Are they actually meant to transport us out of our daily environments to someplace better, someplace idealized, someplace unattainable in reality? Or are they merely decoration gone awry? What if the decontextualization of place that is inherent in these types of images is furthered, heightened, and manipulated?