Henry Brown

Platformer

It’s a slideshow without audio that consists of 28 photographs I took while on a trip to Spiral Jetty and throughout the Southwest. The photos are open, almost generic landscape views taken on my cellphone through a beam splitter - an optical lens that filters and reflects certain wavelengths of light. I’m submitting an mpg file, but if possible I’d like to use a 35mm projector. I have the slides and projector. I can show the digital version but I think the hum of the fan and the click of the changing slides are an important aspect the piece.

Each person uses a range of prior experiences and knowledge to understand a new experience or unknown space. This understanding involves creative action on the part of the viewer, which occurs simply through the act of observation. This piece addresses that creative action inherent within observation and experience and examines the technology we create and use to transmit experience.

Our desire to transmit our experiences and to share our worlds with each other creates an increasing demand for new technologies of imaging and transmitting experience. Despite higher and higher definition and more and more digital capacity for capturing images and sounds, every new experience or image viewed still involves creative action on the part of the viewer. Seeing an unknown place we insert our own knowledge over the missing information, creating a new space that overlays, but is never the same as, the space depicted.

Platformer is intended to present the linear progression of slightly familiar scenes that have been pulled apart and conflated, where the viewer is required to write his or her own world into the scenes. The filtering layers of the beam splitter discard light and require the viewer to replace the information that was reflected away. A truly basic and familiar format – the slideshow – provides expectations of specificity and narrative placement that are never fulfilled. It is my hope that the invoked dissonance between familiarity and the unknown causes the viewer to examine the internal and subconscious platform from which they observe and create their world.