I construct environments modeled on historical image-making technologies, from the camera obscura to the magic lantern. These apparatuses put objects in dialogue with their images, sacrificing broad distribution for an experience of image that is local and ephemeral.
Photography is the foundation for my practice. I spent several years making photographic cameras that played with perception. I would imagine a camera, build it, work within its constraints, and finally take on its qualities, inhabiting other ways of seeing. But ultimately, I realized the limits of my pictures. They documented experiences but failed to offer them.
I started building room-sized cameras to share my performative experiences with others. The camera was itself once architecture. Through quirks of history, it transformed from the room-scale camera obscura to a handheld apparatus. Our relationship to the handheld is one of mastery, control. We photograph with a camera as we might play an instrument. My work brings the camera back to architectural form and human scale, into a space that must accommodate both observation and locomotion. At the scale of architecture, we approach things and invest ourselves differently. We see ourselves as belonging to space rather than possessing it.
At first, the project was strictly about photography: light came into a darkened room through a hole and made a picture. But over time I loosened the camera. Lost to English speakers is the mundane origin of the word aperture. Italians know to enter a business when its sign reads aperto – open. Breach the wall of a dark space and the world enters as an image. As my concerns became architectural, small apertures became elongated windows; pictures became patterns; walls gave way to doors. I wanted to unmake the camera, leaving only what was necessary to maintain the connection to place through image.