"We get the small truth first. Good! We keep him and we value him but all the same we must not let him think himself all the truth in the universe."- Bram Stroker, Dracula, 1897
1. Enciclopedia Infinita/Infinite Encyclopedia/ (E.I./I.E.) grew out of my affection for documentary photography. Conceptually borrowing from the likes of August Sander, Douglas Huebler, Pliny the Elder and Jorge Luis Borges, this project aims for the categorically impossible: to be an encyclopedic catalogue of 'everything.' Its finite scope will be limited by the number of images that I can generate in my lifetime.
The act of categorization is inherently subjective; rigor, after all, is not the same thing as objectivity. By employing the encyclopedic model, the project harnesses that condition and turns it into a cataloguing strategy. These volumes will ultimately possess their own kind of logic. By creating an original and complex system of visual data, my encyclopedia will operate as would any: full of accidental biases and meaningful connections. E.I./I.E.seeks to categorize where the edges of my person and the edges of the world meet.
2. "He divided the universe into forty categories or genres, these being further subdivided then into differences and then into species. He assigned to each a class monosyllable of two letters; to each difference, a consonant; to each species a vowel…The impossibility of penetrating the divine pattern of the universe cannot stop us from planning human patterns, even though we are conscious they are not definitive."
- Jorge Luis Borges, El Idioma Analítico de John Wilkins, 1952
The use value for this encyclopedic object is located in its relative, subjective logic, that, as with any system of understanding, has the possibility of creating meaning in our world through relationships. (The encyclopedia's logic becomes organically generative by its own architecture; a hat in one image become the theme of the next volume, for example.)
3.Vol. 1 The first completed tome of E.I./I.E.is the result of four years of photographing nothing. I don’t mean that I wasn’t photographing; rather I brought my camera with me everywhere, and, with no expectations of what I wanted to picture, I made images. As the years mounted, I began to self-organize my archive of nothings, noticing that certain themes – such as ‘backs of heads’ – kept surfacing. Over time this collection of formally strange portraits (a word I use cautiously, as they refuse The Face) both impart and deny critical visual data and thereby began to reflect back the selective aims of the project itself. The information given below the photograph – written in English and Spanish – describe all the notes I can remember around the picture making and ‘supplement’ the missing face. When that series ends, a new one begins, borrowing its organizing principle from the last image of the preceding group. Sometimes their relationship is obvious while at other times they're a challenge to suss out. The subsequent series are also labeled bilingually, though not always in the same way. For example, the 2nd and 4th entries in Vol 1. (1b + 1d) are titled, in both English and Spanish, as only the westernmost and easternmost places photographed (Sitka, Alaska -> Nice, France / Sitka, Alaska -> Niza, Francia, for example). Each individual image is then titled using the coordinates of the location where the photo was made lending both specificity to and distance from the information. Meanwhile the 3rd set in the series, made of images shot directly aimed at the sun, provide only one sentence, Sunrise Sunset Amanecer Alborada, at the beginning of the series. The play on geologic time that follows is left to the viewer to figure out. These shifts, not just from English to Spanish but also in the level of detail and subjectivity in the information provided, reflect not only my own bilingual upbringing but also the multifacetedness of the subjective encounter.
Enciclopedia Infinita/ Infinite Encyclopedia Volume I/Volumen I exists as a book published in collaboration with DeMerritt/Pauwels Editions, 2014.
Vol. 1a: From A to Z/ Desde la A hasta la Z
Vol. 1b: Sitka, Alaska/Sitka, Alaska---> Vieques, Puerto Rico/ Vieques, Puerto Rico
Vol. 1c: SunriseSunset AmanecerAlborada
Vol. 1d: Sitka, Alaska/ Sitka, Alaska ---> Nice France/Niza, Francia