There is no such thing as the experience of a continuous landscape. Get in the middle of it, and there’s too much to keep track of. Pull away, and the details begin to disappear. You can drive cross-country or leave the atmosphere in a space shuttle; either way, time, space, and the limited capacity of memory make a fiction of the notion of continuity. This is true with photographs, too, because they at once make a site of consciousness and block out the periphery. When we look at a photograph, we come up with stories, some of which may be true, many of which involve some degree of fictive projection. But we never get “the whole picture” because the frame cannot include everything.
My aim was to expose each piece of the Reconstructions one at a time when I printed them so that the image would no longer seem quite as continuous. The lack of wholeness is unsettling on some level and satisfying because it comes off as real to me. Yet being that my aim was not to destroy anything, I tried out ways to put the picture, the landscape, and the world back together using push pins, darts, tape, staples, glue and also thread. I liked the feel and the motion of the needle piercing the image surface, so I settled on sewing with cotton thread. It’s a game in some ways, an approximation of how I would guess my own consciousness works to make a complete picture of an object. To most of us, the world is not whole. It’s broken, and we each put it together as we need it to be for us. I want for viewers of the pictures to get something that came to me as I produced these artifacts, a recapitulation of my process of making a picture.
All the Reconstructions are printed on handmade Japanese Gampi, produced by the late Masao Seki. I handcoated the paper with platinum and palladium and exposed the images, in individual pieces, separately in the sun. After washing and drying the paper I trimmed and sewed the separately exposed pieces to another sheet of washi, then added other sewing or addenda as the image called for it.