I Am That

I Am That is a series of in-camera self-portraits that has been inspired by the book of the same name by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. This book addresses the concepts and meanings of self and self-image. While reading I was struck with the idea that our bodies are separate from our spiritual beings and as we age the mechanics of our bodies will eventually be ‘falling off like a discarded garment’. As I contemplated this idea and came to terms with the realities of Michele’s situation I began to wonder: What is it that I could have? Is there something festering in my body that will consume me, requiring a similar type of chemical therapy that Michele experienced? For years I have had back pain that I believed was due to being over-active, but I began to think, could it possibly be something else?

The sculpture documents the impermanence of self while representing the ambiguity that we all seem to face as we age. It is a look at my body via an antiquated process that “sees” metaphorically through it, creating overlapping views of what does (and does not) make up my body. The Wet Plate Collodion process is one of the oldest imaging techniques and is extremely time consuming. As one views the sculpture from different angles, the plates appear similar to holograms, CT scans, X-Rays and other diagnostic images.

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in 2 ways - either by loosing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” -Dalai Lama XIV

Visual Studies Workshop Presentation

Installation Take Down