Critical Mass Top 50, 2013

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Kerry Skarbakka

Stairs © 2002

Blue Tree © 2002

Reflected © 2003

Croatia © 2003

Trestle © 2003

Shower © 2005

Office © 2005

Window © 2009

Clean and Jerk © 2009

Last Ditch Effort © 2013
Kerry Skarbakka

The Struggle To Right Oneself: Philosopher Martin Heidegger described human existence as a process of perpetual falling, placing the responsibility of each individual to catch us from our own uncertainty. Such an unsettling prognosis informs this presented body of work. Over the past ten-plus years of creating these scenarios, I continually returned to questions regarding the nature of control and its effects on this perceived responsibility. Beyond the basic laws that govern and maintain our equilibrium, we live in a world that constantly tests our stability in various other forms. War and rumors of war, issues of economic security, effects of globalization, and the politics of identity are all external gravities turned inward, serving to further threaten the precarious balance of self, exaggerating negative feelings of control. This long-term, performance-based photographic work is in response to this delicate state, which relies on the shifting human conditions of the world that we inhabit. The exploration of this project resides in the sublime metaphorical space from where balance has been disrupted to the definitive point of no return. It asks the questions of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. What are the consequences of holding on? Do we fall? Can we fly? If we fly then loss of control facilitates supreme control. These images stand as ominous messages and reminders that we are all vulnerable to losing our footing and grasp. Moreover, they convey the primal qualities of the human condition as a precarious balancing act between the struggle against our desire to survive and our fantasy to transcend our humanness.