The Limiting Principle
The Limiting Principle consists of photographs and video of disparate subjects: a dilapidated collection of Greco-Roman casts undergoing restoration, trees and tree rings, and academic bankers boxes slated for destruction. Cumulatively the work meditates upon the tenuous state of knowledge and the cyclical nature of history. The title of the project references a common theory applied in dendrology (the study of wooded plants), which explains growth limitations in forests due to drought, pests, or other environmental factors. Taken within the context of this work, the title speaks metaphorically to our own societal and cultural limitations in accessing our history. We live in an era of rapid change with potentially dire outcomes, yet we are struggling with an epistemological quagmire—we cannot seem to learn from our past—our own limiting factor. This work meditates on this phenomenon via a macroscopic lens.
Archive tells a story about vanishing civilizations and the complex relationship between history, knowledge, and power. Shot in Peru, these photographs intertwine decaying manuscripts, an archeological site, and an indigenous agrarian workers’ strike. Though seemingly unrelated, the images are directly connected—the workers, concerned about land and water rights, cannot claim ownership to their land without access to the increasingly fragile manuscripts. Meanwhile, the manuscripts in the archives continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate,. The archeological site reveals a mysteriously vanquished culture, most likely due to severe drought, the very phenomenon which threatens the indigenous cultures today.
The photographs in Archive speak to frustrated attempts to preserve, decode, and convey historical records. Written history, as utilitarian preserver of culture, is as tenuous and fragile as the paper it’s recorded on, while the stones of an ancient civilization—and those used by the striking workers to block roadway passage— mutter incoherently about lessons learned and lost.
Archive is available as an artist's book at www.a-jumpbooks.com.