Visual Art

Arbitrary Shootings

Presented here is a photographic series—a continuation of my urban explorations in relation to the group. How must individuals behave in a city? More specifically: how are they shaped by the city’s parameters? I have drawn connections between the fictional community in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (1948) and the community within any realistic cityscape. There is a fine line between arbitrary versus deliberate societal structures. I am reminded of the recurring submissive nature of humans and the duality of tradition—how one may lead to either stability or weakness in the other.

This series is, to a degree, influenced by satellite photography. There are hints of a town square, roads leading to somewhere and surrounding buildings. In some images, the hand implies movement and, depending on how documentation is implemented, even static immobility. An invisible barrier was created between the studio and outside world. Nothing new was introduced into the studio so as to create an encapsulated city—an independent, separate entity apart from the outside world—even taking into account materials used. Tactility was a desired quality for chosen materials, alluding to the acts of covering and containing. These sought-after qualities have the capacity to ‘save’ or ‘ensnare,’ and they can be discovered in textiles, plastic bags and netting.

My artistic process began by placing sourced materials onto the floor. This process of placement was playful and fluid: aligning, layering, balancing—aiming to create groupings perceived as interchangeable or random. Photography was used to catch a specific moment in time. The moment was preserved by shooting the moment. In a sense, my process mimics the ‘arbitrary shootings’ which occur in Jackson’s story—when one individual is sacrificed (i.e., the gesture of ‘shooting’ suggests the act of ‘stoning’) instead of another within the dark narrative.