Ten Percent in One Eye and Zane
I am an artist who uses photography and digital video. My artwork is informed by an ongoing interest in documentary photography and video. I am always seeking a merger of medium and subject in my work—to create work in which the medium is analogous to the subject, and vice-versa. I am particularly drawn to emotion, in gestures, faces and hands. I am excited when the play of light or a camera movement colludes with these emotions. I am also interested in creating intense collaborations with subjects that explore of the boundaries between “subject” and “author”.
In a series of black and white photos, “Ten Percent in One Eye,” photographic modes of “seeing” help me to explore blindness. Blindness, in many ways, also informs my photography. My collaborator, Witold Potempa, is a man with ten percent of his vision, who uses one half-inch thick lens and touch to navigate the world. I used a macro lens, like his lens, and sought out strong sources of light, as he does to get his bearings. We concluded this project with a conversation, in which we took turns interviewing each other—about his blindness, about my photography. We wanted to find a form for the work that create a physical dialog with it. Witold uses his fingers to feel his way around. To translate that experience for the viewer, I created a book with rough translucent paper, so that touching the photos and reading the text of our conversation became both a visual and a tactile experience.
In a recent digital video project, my son Zane's Asperger's Syndrome, (a form of autism), and my feelings about fatherhood are an entry point into issues of intimacy, privacy, medical diagnosis and empathy. For one of the videos , I use loops of home video—Zane as a toddler digging over and over in the sand . The image is zoomed in and slowed, as if to examine each gesture under a microscope. Coupled with sounds of technology being used to communicate over great distances—among them the crackling radio feedback from the Voyager satellite, the pings of underwater sonar, and an ultrasound (medical diagnostic sonar)—the video takes on both intimate and alien qualities. Autism introduces a great gap in cognition that can make simple communication daunting and frustrating. I am very interested in exploiting the limits of the lens and technology as a way of exploring the limits of empathy and communication. In the video “Lecture”, I perform the many phrases I've said over and over to my son, both in praise and scolding. Both videos (meant to loop continuously), mimic the repetitive, circular, hyper-focused behavior often observed in autistic people.
- Adam Gooder
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Lecture, from the series “Zane,” 2004, Digital video,
Courtesy of the artist
Home Movie, from the series “Zane,” 2005, Digital video, installation includes projector, books, drafting mylar sheets , Courtesy of the artist