THIS IS WATER
"This Is Water" explores self-awareness and its nemeses: blind certitude and unconsciousness.
It is inspired by a story shared by David Foster Wallace in a commencement speech: “There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”
I love this parable and its reminder that essential things are all around us, hidden in plain sight. This project examines what is above and below the surface, shifting mediums and bending light. It seeks to illuminate the malleable foundations upon which we make meaning and take actions that impact ourselves, others, and the environment around us.
I use water to point to ways in which we are ego-deluded and dissociated from ourselves — drawn to the siren’s call. While it is possible to correct for optical distortions, I embrace refraction, diffusion, and reflection in service to illusion. My intention is to make images that are seductive but off-key — a world above the surface projecting one reality and another below, disassembled, and reconfigured — another universe. The resulting dissonance speaks of an uncomfortable, but necessary, place to challenge complacency and exhort action. For me, that means not foundering in a sea of willful ignorance or being rendered mute by those who would drown my voice. And like our two young fish, it means swimming along, constantly reminding myself that “this… is water.”