Radios in flight
As I began exploring my thesis visually, I looked at Surrealism and how the meaning of an object is changed once it is taken out of context. So I took a radio, (an electric appliance), and threw it in the air, along with expected notions of where a radio belongs and how it should be used. I liked how, once the radio was airborn, it became a drawing, and because I set it free, it drew itself.
Fans in flight
Excited at how alive my radio looked in the sky, I decided that photographing electric appliances in mid-air was the way to go. My next challenge was getting multiple objects in the air at one time. I needed to build a machine. I spent a week gathering stray appliances including a toaster, a phone, a humidifier, a vacuum cleaner, a clock and some fans. My cousin, Steve, helped me construct a human-powered trampoline out of bungee cord, metal pipes, duct tape and outdoor patio furniture fabric. We crossed our fingers, and to my delight, the trampoline worked. He, his wife, and I spent the next two hours hurling objects in the air and photographing them.
Thesis study: Fans in flight, revisited
After looking at the photos for a couple of days, I brought them into Photoshop, and played with them until they looked more like charcoal drawings than photographs. I realized after applying my method to a couple dozen of the photos that I was trying to create that sweet spot between my appliances being recognizable and “What the hell is that?”
Dream text in flight
My thesis investigations led me to recording my dreams, as a way of accessing my subconscious, a place where anything is possible. I cut letters out of paper that spelled parts of my dreams (in this case the words were “family reunion”), hung them in front of a window, and let them fly. The letters were photographed on a windy day, and within thirty seconds of opening the window, they had wrapped themselves around each other and became entangled, not unlike a you-know-what.
Bringing my raw materials of photographed flying objects together, I designed and wrote my thesis publication and made three giant posters for the final exhibit. I wanted to emphasize the drama of flying things and the personal nature of dreams to be made public, so I made the posters as big as the printer could handle. The largest one is 14' wide.