Seldon Yuan

Untitled (trees, hanger)

In the Memory Of Photos

The text reads:

again i hd to leave
bhnd wht cld not be carried
was phtgrphd to a weight and size idntcl
to small paper “ rmmber, do not frgt”

untl again i hd to move

thn i remmbrd… i can nt remmber

so i photgrphd mments amng ppl wthin lndscps light arrngmnts of tble settings thmbtacks bedding bxes by wndws

“ and move “

i phtgrphed untl i hd to phtgrph the phtgphs qrtering
the weight untl the mnemonic becme a .
move i cld not move
not move i cld nt stay
to nt frgt or stop

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Environments Are Invisible

“Environments are invisible.”

That’s Marshall McLuhan’ overarching big idea. We are fundamentally, almost inherently, unable to see the largest thing in our lives — our environment. This ocean of ideas, assumptions, expectations, constraints, drivers, beliefs, blinders, and influences that shape our lives and minds is hidden from us precisely because we are in it and of it. It takes a peculiar stance and foolishness to step outside it long enough to perceive it.

Marshall McLuhan was strange and clownish enough to see it.

Kevin Kelly

Eye Contact

Thinking of using these on my Elastic City walk. They’re leftover from a sculpture I made in college. Little did I know that 8 years later I’d be using them for an entirely different purpose. Here is some context:

Viveiros de Castro was quoted by Graham Harvey:

‘Personhood and ‘perspectivity’—the capacity to occupy a point of view—is a question of degree and context, rather than an absolute, diacritical property of a particular species.'”

Diana Eck has written:

The central act of Hindu worship, from the point of view of the lay person, is to stand in the presence of the deity and to behold the image with one’s own eyes, to see and be seen by the deity… through the eyes one gains the blessings of the divine.”

In fact, a god is understood to be embodied by an image only when the eyes are added. Shops sell plastic eyes that can be attached to holy objects such as rocks, or to replace old eyes on existing statues.

Here are some holy rocks with eyes:

Here is a dung sculpture of Krishna at the moment when the artist is adding the eyes.

Here also is a remarkable earthwork by Shreyas Karle in which giant eyes were added to a mountain using stones and paint. With this action, Karle literally transformed the mountain itself into a god, or awakened the latent god within the mountain. Here, an object becomes a subject.

East/West Landscape Swap

Simone and I are trading landscapes. My New York/New Jersey for her California:

This photo was made with a pinhole camera.

I’ve been interested in those since high school, when one of my classmates made a giant pinhole camera using the principal’s one-window office. She covered the window in black paper and poked a tiny hole. The whole class crowded inside the pitch-dark room. After our eyes adjusted, we could see what was going on outside, projected upside down on the wall across from the window. We could see cars passing and people walking. We were inside the camera.

This image is made up of three views of the same location. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Simone.) It’s one continuous exposure, but the overlap of the different views distorts our sense of scale: notice the way the close-up grass blends into the distant shore on the right, cutting off the ocean so it looks like a river. And those two houses are actually the same felt sculpture from different angles.

For more about why I think shifting perspective is so cool (meaning multiple viewpoints & perspective systems in the same image), see this post.

Here are two normal-camera photos that Simone took in the same place: