Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto once said “To me, photography functions as a fossilization of time.” Dilated, however, uses photography in nearly the opposite manner: as a conduit to further open up, and eventually, dissolve space by continuously refining it into more tightly focused pieces.
When installed, dilated consists of a collection of images, which are simultaneously abstracted and representational. The images are grouped in panels of various widths (ranging from ten inches to eight feet) to create a micro/macro tension as the viewer continuously questions the presented scale. The panels are arranged evenly through the length of a hallway creating a rhythm that facilitates the way the viewer approaches and moves through the installation.
At its core, dilated examines the various ways in which we “see” space, a question that extends beyond mere visuality. By utilizing the five basic senses, as well as concepts of perception, intuition, and rhythm, the project emerges from a series of spatial immersion experiences that include blindfolded dérives, solitary chambers, and revisitation experiments.
Consistent in each experience is a level of disorientation. While logic states that this hinders our ability to “see” the space, research suggests otherwise. For example, in studying elderly people and their relationship to their environments, Graham D. Rowles comments on spatial experiences in regards to routine:
Over time the establishment of a regular set of paths results in these routes’ becoming ingrained in the individual’s subconscious. A ‘body awareness’ of the setting, functioning much like an automatic pilot, may facilitate ongoing participation in an environment that otherwise might be beyond the physiological and cognitive capabilities of the individual.
Through this, he suggests that when we are fully oriented and comfortable in a space, the pyschogeographic interaction between body and space is minimal as we smoothly move through it with unconscious ease. In contrast, when we are disoriented – be it through physical dislocation, sensory deprivation, or temporal confusion – we lose our “automatic pilot” and become more aware of our body moving through the space.
In the end, dilated presents remnants of multiple spaces while concurrently producing a new space for the viewer to encounter.