A simple distillation of thought recreated in the calligraphy of the everyday hand on 18 canvases.
I accept as true, the premise that we as humans understand that we are temporary, despite our own vanity. We know better than to rely on our own memories to carry our ideas into the future, so we write. We write so that another person in another time can share a thought as we once held it. Of course we also know that a read thought cannot somehow re-create the same response and experience as when it was originally conjured. Instead the written idea becomes a falsehood – a facsimile of an idea. This is degraded and altered by the ever-changing context of time and it remains far from a perfect process, but it is the best tool that we have for the preservation of ideas.
Our efforts in writing and photographing ourselves are then, futile attempts to stretch our own influence (and existence) through time using a logical code of images, symbols and processes that human cultures have grown to accept. All cultures use words to allow our thoughts to transcend space and time in ways that our bodies simply cannot: an idea crosses a continent in seconds; sentiments of love and lust linger on a page long after love has grown cold; the excitement of a hunt remains on a wall thousands of years after the artist dies; a philosophy is shared from generation to generation and eventually shapes nations.
In this series, I have transcribed a chapter from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden entitled, The Visitors. The act of visiting implies that one will be leaving without any permanent trace aside from the memory of his visit. Much the same can be said for our brief time here as sentient contributors to the human experience. To more closely examine the premise of thought, writing and the symbols we use to fuse the two, I have hand-written the chapter and abstracted from the very center a small sample of that writing. In doing so, a more romantic image has been created and it becomes less about the words and more about a shared experience. This is a simple distillation of that human experience of sharing a thought from one generation to another.
We are all just visitors here.