Words & Shrines Eternal This project addresses the shifting meaning of national identity as enshrined in the enduring symbols of the printed word, monuments, and institutions. The photographs are created from gestural exposures and montaged elements that result in a layered resemblance to symbols of veracity and social, cultural and political structures. I have applied a distinctively photographic approach in exploring this topic because it results in the visual disruption and destabilization of subjects intended to symbolize permanence and stability in our culture. The veracity of the photograph as a fixed point of view is altered as the camera becomes a moving light receptor capturing the subject through multiple viewpoints simultaneously in one frame in one long exposure.
Artist's Statement We are in a cultural crisis as sectors of our society question the veracity of institutions such as the press and museum; given their historical origin and contemporary presence the meaning of monuments is being debated. My images don’t take sides, rather they focus on why and how these monuments/words exist and their cultural role. The experience of seeing and moving among these images should prompt viewers to reconsider the value and meaning of these symbols. Newspapers, books, pages and text melt in and out of abstraction and in some cases are integrated with monuments; identifiable but not quite coherent. Likewise, the national shrines of stone and bronze that we perceive to exist in a perpetual state of permanence surge off their pedestals to become vibrating beacons with layers of documents and other texts embedded that reference historical context and change.
© All images by Douglas Barkey douglas barkey