STATEMENT

BIOGRAPHY is over on this page.

 

STATEMENT

I begin with a simple motive to add to the beauty in the world. I felt an intrinsic pull into the arts from a young age and pursued several disciplines. Growing up surrounded by nature landscape and sounds, my imagination and senses were trained to rhythms in perceptions. The ways art creates knowledge (epistemologies) around perceptual senses of space and time (proprioception and chronoception) continues to hold my interest. Relating epistemologies with space and time led me to making photographs, videos, and come into an interdisciplinary practice with installation and performance.

 

The theories I am most occupied by are: histories happen on purpose, the metaphysical and material are related and the divide a myth, and the invisible senses of places make people. These areas of thought and philosophy are largely influenced by growing up in the Midwest where artists in Chicago used to seek solace from summer heat, near a nuclear power plant, Native burial grounds, and a place with strong values in conservation. I would later come to learn the complex history between the Midwest and Japan. My great great grandmother, Ellen Amman and her sister Harriet Sündstrom, as well as the Bavarian and Venetian conflicts came to my awareness as I probed the lineage of family history. I continually find myself creating at an intersection of Eurasian culture.

 

As human life continues to morph through technologies and sciences, I noticed the effects of social policies of individualism forming separations. By focusing on a crusted layer of ideas, the deeper wells fed by forms of heartfelt beauty birthed crisis of psyche and emotion. The photographic lens, literally, historically, philosophically and psychologically became the way I worked to give structure to chronoception and proprioception. Eventually multi-media installations involving vision and body expanded the solitary practice of psychologically oriented nature photography influenced by Minor White and Edward Weston toward my roots with performance and developing practice with handcraft.

 

In understanding that psyche means spirit, the deployment of social policies through systems of thought exposed a covert conflict tactic. My personal perspective aligns with organising around virtues and principles as they tend to endure. While ideas and emotions employ an analytical and systemic approach, I worked to find ways to champion interests in traditions and rituals in service to healthy maturation of knowing. By working with embodied functions, I noticed the ways social policies morphed behaviours to create detrimental patterns. For example, the fluxing boundaries with surveillance, social and dating apps, disruption economies, the rise of petty tyranny, thought and disability policing, and the slippage in undermining healthy structures to create a simulacra of pseudo-hypnogogic state of awareness. While bettering material conditions improves the appearance of life, the qualities of life that illuminate the mind from the beauty in the heart arise from within. The fissure between the virtual and real can conflate or dissolve. Therefore the nearly-universal experiences of the sublime in awe and reverie, invited me to bring value to traditions in observing nature and ways the internal arts can be realised in the technocratic present.

 

We become what we practice and develop where we focus. Therefore the Vision-Body relationship brought my work with cameras and poetry into the realm of the senses, the tactile and performed. The research of Elaine Scarry and Robert Sapowlsky gives words to what I believe people have awareness of deep within their bones.

 

Seeing the body as the generative force in cognition takes up a biological way of reasoning. Biology already being physical, informs materials and perception. This bottom-up perspective often confronts the top-down route (ideology). The bottom-up understanding affords greater agency in creating beauty and harmony as mother nature ultimately runs this show regardless of ideological understandings or misunderstandings. An ideologically driven or bottom-down motive has merit as well, though as defined clearly in Hito Stereyl’s work, a favoured mode of psychological warfare.

 

In a world mitigated by telematic interfaces, I persist in making art because of its unique ability to work on subtle layers of culture. While culturally antagonistic trends in art continue, I aim to work in service of beauty, common ground, vitality, healing, harmony, and truths. Since truth is a touchy word, here’s an example: a notion humans are born and leave alone denies the reality there are usually a mother and father and supporting group of people involved in various capacities throughout the process. The notion of aloneness pervades social policies deployed in subtle and persistent methods through media, professionals, and often culture. Therefore, art’s purpose and place in creating knowledge stronger than ideas, can nurture the psyche with truths, that water the heart with beauty.

 

After years of wrestling with images and questions with free-will, determinism, subjectivity, and agency, I saw an entry point through technology and sciences to reorient my visual work materially and performatively in joining images, performance, textiles, and magnetic resonances (or the ways the interior of material phenomena is depicted using the quantum mechanic effect of oscillating dipole frequencies). The project has a working title of Magnetics In-Material and serves to create a common ground for people who live in places and can relate with each other through seeing and sensing the tactile qualities of the invisible and eminent energies in nature elements.

 


 

Guns In America

An early morning in May, I went for a routine walk to enjoy the sunrise and make some photographs in a nearby forest preserve area. On the same route I had gone out on, I returned and found an object in the road. I didn’t know what it was at first. In disbelief, I made a photo on my iPhone, to send to my Dad who confirmed it was indeed a loaded handgun in a holster. He called in a report to the county police, who drove to the site within a 15 minutes. Upon the officer’s arrival, my dad met him there, and the owner of the gun had returned after noticing it was gone when he arrived to work. The owner explained the handgun must have been on the top of his truck, as he backed out of his driveway that morning to take his daughter to school and go off to work. The handgun must have slid off and fallen in the road, where I found it. This man happens to teacher of the concealed carry course in the area. No citations were made. No human is perfect, and this experience perfectly highlights the shocking changes in the quiet, small-town neighbourhood I grew up in.

 

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Freedom

Words are supposedly made up, but does that mean they lose their meaning? The words still mean what they mean. So is not the words that is the problem but the ideas about the words that seem to be in flux- when does an idea ever justify violence? Vision of complete peace and harmony would say never. So then, how could a motive to peace and harmony inflict a kind of suffering that is also a form of violence?

Words are used to communication, to convey information, and hopefully come to a kind of agreement. When there is not agreement, there is conflict. Conflict of values, conflict of interest, clashing vision, different desired outcomes? Not always. A shared outcome could still result in seeing different pathways toward an outcome. What is the point of discussing the terminology in abstract form? To gain some kind of space-to make make a calm approach towards a volatile subject. The the with volatile subjects is humans are animals and still maintain some kind of instinct to pounce, deal with the thing now. That does not always result in the most generative outcome.

Words can be used as guises for something else. And in an effort to maintain what is what, and the meaning of words used as ideals for cultural values – freedom comes up all the time. The ideal of freedom is supposedly grasp as right for some and not right for others. That there would be a correct understanding of freedom is something worthwhile to sit up straight for. To pay some attention to what is this idea, what is about ideas that posses and drives people, and which of those ideas create the outcomes desired.

being without is not freedom
freedom requires effort
easier as it may seem to do without than to work for what you want
there is a delicate balance between striving and allowing
providing and contentment

at any time one has given grief, uttered contempt, or proclaim a higher order to be knowing -then the Etymology dictionary services as tool to find out what’s really going on at the heart of the matter. It’s not really free to use, though we imagine that-since it’s online. But for anyone who has the privilege to use the resource of the internet- here we are:

From etymology.com 

Old English freodom “power of self-determination, state of free will; emancipation from slavery, deliverance;” see free (adj.) + -dom. Meaning “exemption from arbitrary or despotic control, civil liberty” is from late 14c. Meaning “possession of particular privileges” is from 1570s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fridom, Dutch vrijdom, Middle Low German vridom. Freedom-rider recorded 1961 in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.

It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists. [John C. Calhoun, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 1816]

Freedom fighter attested by 1903 (originally with reference to Cuba). Freedom-loving (adj.) is from 1841.

A Tower Without Lights

social media makes personal universes
with walls permitting those who agree
to graffiti, erasing those who differ
an echo chamber of personal sovereignty
privilege became an assault word
joy became something to hide
someone so over communing
serving a discourse in fiery minds
a way of saying this way not that
no because I know better
wondering how communion breaks down
the gaze, the look, assumed empty embraces
discourse tracks adjacent opposed to communication
a train wreck destined to happen
the path clear from ivory towers
farmers, human callers
cities have also their beaches
the blame media and material objects
and hold in their body a free will
to say, to do, to choose
turn up a nose
look sideways
reach out
embrace
face the fellow who tossed out the trash
reached beyond a respectable grasp
common sense says we sense
right and wrong
long before anyone tells us to
the limits of tolerance
when did fighting corporations
unholy alliances and snide marks
become valued more than
making the most of everyday.

-R.Wolfe, Oslo, Norway

contemporary venice timescape

Deeper In the Mountain

every morning the people woke

not to work, but to media  __repeating

repeating

 

motivating guilt movements

to prey upon freedom

an ideal inciting fights

 

lies made of good virtue

exercised as images of social servitude

abundant in forms of covert self-flagellation

 

distrusting sides motivated to divide

by their shared private demons

instead of venting palms down an aisle

the hairs spewed onto public forums

 

morphing the digital mediums

drawing deeper relations with our bodies

fixes inoculated by the paradox in a lie about problems

 

policies on new addictions formed

support groups and steps

for the self believed weak began to follow

 

we rely upon the other

to build ideal worlds, upon real worlds

and while people fought and bickered

wasting away the days

for the belief capital itself was heavy

 

while values ought be free

the hippies had unsuccessfully attempted escape

no one made it out sane or unaltered by trances

the dances of verses on

the eloquence of the universe

 

some bought experience via pills

while beggars and thieves sat mighty

amongst virtue signals of advanced societies

 

while desires burning men alive

slowly put out their internal fires

by minimising generative hormones

 

ingesting yesterday’s ashes

motors of desire rid any feelings of Lack

chasing up their backs

 

warm bodies grew cold

by the isolation of those

who keeping asking, ask, ask, ask

always wanting more

 

those who live in peace

resigned to standing firm

in relationship with life

seem to not flinch at those crying: more

beg for more, will do whatever can be reasoned

to shake a little bit _more

 

Each day days work in standing

a little bit more

free from any kind of belief

exercising fewer postures

giving way toward designed signals

 

knowing a way nor better or lesser

standing are for shallows

and the depths are tested by the guts

 

your life says so

do what you so choose

let those go on claiming virtue

sing their sirens

and keep on driving

feet deeper into the soil

each step

all at a time

 

-9 February 2018. Oslo, Norway

R Wolfe

 

EQUATION 2014

 “We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds.”

-Franz Kafta

RachelWolfe_Equations_Low_1200

 

EQUATION, 2014. Photographic Print, Edition of 2. An image as material evidence of a philosophical theory – comparison simultaneously centralises topical similarities while decentralising the set, acceptance of differences strengthens the group and the reference remains unknown.

 

TEXT

A friend told me that equality is denial. I try to refrain from “is” statements as often as possible, but this one seemed relevant given the propagandistic use of the terms: equality and freedom.
 
Admittedly, I had no way of knowing how to articulate what I was making when I made the four exposures which make this quadrant image called: Equation After 2yrs of graduate schooling and 2yrs living abroad in what is considered one of the most equality driven societies in the world, I can make turn into words which was visually articulated. I would say then, the fashion in art these days for accompany text then services some kind of impulse to educate, or tell about, what it is we are seeing. That describing something, some how makes the encounter of nonsense make sense.
 
Each photograph was composed with the same materials in the referent (as in the real encounter in the real world), pavement, cloth, tar, formed in what I would find out upon researching made smooth again the cuts into the pavement. The scanned images then concealments of utility work. Band-aids for the underground structures which move the resources which modern life relies: water, waste, electricity.
 
In logic games, math, and computing, Logic (logos) serves as the basis of all that is (is, a word for reality, or realisation). So then, within a logic-based system, the business of telos services a design often residing in the ideology of the actions. The purpose, or an end, brings me to thinking about the colloquialism: Means to an end. Those who function based on a means to an end may claim logic in their actions and choices, but the fatal conceit in this mode of working is a form of denial. Denial is perhaps a strong word, maybe it is the premise of a supremacy on the principles or laws in nature. This of course a trauma when some dynamic earthy event transpires-natural disasters they are called. They are a disaster for things moving slowly, but not really some kind of disaster in reality at all. The disaster is part of our relationship to the natural, the unexpected, that we try to forget about not having sustainable power over. Remembering this may seem as an “of course” -why is that political leaders don’t remember this so much? I really wonder. Do they think they are god? or doing something valuable for others? Seems like that could be the case. I really don’t know.
 
Back to logos and logic-not to conflate the two, but to use the two as turning points in thinking. The constricting feeling of solely-logic based reasoning is not an accident. This mode of working has a sensory experience akin to entrapment, enslavement, double binding, or in other words-creating insanity out of otherwise sane people. For me, the more interesting part about looking at these, is the utter folly and sense of humor I experience from viewing them. To extract all of the real reference points, I see perspectives on some kind of other worldly band-aid. This could be due to the fact that in making photographs I often am making them for the index, so I can reference back later, and learn…what was it I was looking at. Why was I looking at it? Ant it was because I am interested in how things work, not on an instructional level, but on the level of a series of steps goes towards making a thing, and then that thing interacts with another, and so the result was not a matter of fact, but the byproduct of the process itself. The byproducts of the labor processes are visible everywhere. And contained in the byproducts, I have been able to document, and investigate the kind of thinking and labor that made the result which seems at once as a surprise to some, but if these dynamics are understood, are a total “of course”…and then becomes a kind of humor that is laughing at folly.
 
Laughing at folly, then a kind of twisted sadness and humor, the cynical humor popular today. This kind of humor, the laughing so as not to cry. Because somehow, the labor and efforts which go towards the conditions of living we are working for have built into them their own termination. And that, the aspect of the modern world that has built into it, its own termination, I see then, the underlying difference between humans, nature, technology, is no difference at all. There’s some kind of ending build right into the way things are. And so any forced dichotomy, idea that somehow technology and nature are at odds, that modern man is somehow at odds with nature, has roots in stories and lies. Because all that was, is, and will be, forever in their varying forms, are made by the laws and principles of nature.
 
Suppose this is why space research becomes interesting. And deep earthly digging research. The hunt for the visual evidence which can be researched and read for the underlying dynamics.
 
Hours, weeks, years, go into making the art, the research, and writing on this site. If you enjoy viewing the works and words on this site, consider contributing to my ability to pay for food, housing, and debts, the costs involved in maintaining this site, and the countless hours of effort:  www.paypal.me/atelierwolfe