• Light Over Time •
"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so.
[S/he] studies it because [s/he] takes pleasure in it
and [s/he] takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful.
If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing
and life would not be worth living."
- Henri Poincare, Science and Method
This is knowledge as aesthetic experience.
I drew, photographed, and printed these chalkboard renderings to map and identify the shared boundaries of sound, light, and time.
While chalkboards were material used for this series, the resulting images are more akin to palimpsests. Initially used by monks, palimpsests are partially erased and rewritten instructional parchments, which continue to transmit traces of previous information.
The images represent that which attracts my attention and it is the fractal collision of research on one surface that drives and deregulates the process of making them. Most diagrams are wholly derived from my own conclusions. Some are embedded with citation, appropriated, and reformatted to varying degrees of their native author’s accuracy. These are not random selections; rather they have been observed from pioneers who once championed their own discipline. This collection seeks to aesthetically reclaim the progress, similarity, and expression of their findings.
Intentional eraser smears are included to suggest that chalkboards and palimpsests, like minds and photographs, have memory.
While parts of the work trace the history of light and optics, they also visit how one processes knowledge.
In its essence this series seeks to operate amongst the whimsy of imagination and sobriety of intellect. Through its guidance I have learned to oscillate from the fixed point between them.
© Bill Davis, 2004
The Chamber series represents work, which addresses breathing and the growth of organic space and matter through the forces of air. It is informed by my research and practice of Hatha yoga. While breathing represents an expansive power, the energy it brings to the body is often overlooked. Very few people actually notice it because of its obvious involuntary activity. These images are an attempt to sober the mind long enough to observe the practice and effects of breathing. Air can fill a space as much as it can fill our lung chambers. In that context, I am using simple black backgrounds to draw attention to the distribution of air as it may be defined by the shape, capacity, and geometry of the simple props with which I photograph. It is the goal of this Chamber series to celebrate breathing and call it to the attention of those who have yet to realize the benefits it offers beyond its pedestrian utility.
© Bill Davis, 2003
The Manifest Rites Series has been respectfully included to highlight my background and support the more recent series. As made evident in my digital c.v., these images were exhibited and collected in advance of my thesis research. I started this project in Prague and continued it in the U.S. It was initiated to address conditions associated with pain management and chronic disease. However it eventually grew to address the psychological effects caused by them.
The project was largely informed by the health connections between the mind and the body. It is also a response to the chronic conditions under which I have lived. The Manifest Rites series is so named because it parallels the domain of the unavoidable and the rituals humanity may go through to reject or accept their condition. I interviewed health professionals during this project and none could agree on the reasons for why someone may become sick or at times why they healed. Their arguments further fueled my image-making. In a perverse way I hoped the images could answer that which the medical community could not. In that context the shooting sessions became rituals themselves.
In the absence of information, humanity needs imagination.
© Bill Davis, 2004