The concepts of “here” and “there” have always been interesting to me—particularly the question of what causes us to connect with a space as our “here” or to perceive it as a detached, distant “there.” We are living in a time when technology allows us to see places that were once unseen, and to access moments and images from across the world without taking a step. We can concern ourselves with almost any place, at almost any time. The sheer volume of information at our fingertips can quickly lead to disorientation and fragmentation.
So what draws us to engage with certain places and disengage with others? How does being physically present in a space activate our senses and inform our perceptions differently than observing it from outside? As we attempt to bridge the gap between “here” and “there,” what context is lost?
These are the questions I’m exploring in both my process and the visual construction of my work. I have long been fascinated with the dynamics of cities, where you can simultaneously observe decay and vitality, expansion and contraction, and history and impermanence. Layering and mark-making allow me to explore these themes, and combining and manipulating images allows me to capture multiple views and introduce a sense of abstraction. The result is a place that is both familiar and unfamiliar, blurring the lines between here and there and creating an experience that is unique for each viewer.
- Ben Schwab