The map is only a chart, you know. It isn’t really a real thing, and yet we begin to assume it is a real thing, Most people experience maps or clocks or charts or so forth as very real life-defining phenomena, or whatever.
The act of photography is that of “phenomenological doubt” to the extent that it attempts to approach phenomena from any number of viewpoints.
In the same sense that I don’t care about specific appearance I really don’t care about precise or exhaustive documentation. The documents prove nothing. They make the piece exist and I am interested in having that existence occur in as simple a way as possible.
I set up a system, and the system can catch part of what is happening in the world—what’s going on in the world—an appearance in the world, and suspend that appearance itself from being important…. The work is about the system.
I think everything is available as subject matter and I really mean everything. I concern myself with time, space, and things that are going on in the world, and everything. Not with a sense of trying to restate or interpret or express something, but to take something out of the world just long enough and use just enough of that to throw something out, bring something back, that I can call an image.
I’ve spoken seriously, and I am very serious, but you know an awful lot of the work is meant to twist things to the point of almost absurdity. I don’t want to celebrate absurdity, but I do mean to challenge a lot of premises.
What has interested me all along is not the pronouncement of meaning but pointing toward the way meaning is formed.
Throughout the artist’s lifetime he will photographically document, to the extent of his capacity, the existence of everyone alive.
I use the camera as a “dumb” copying device that only serves to document whatever phenomenon appears before it through the conditions set by a system. No “esthetic” choices are possible. Other people often make the photographs. It makes no difference.
I devise systems that allow me to subject things to a model of thought. In my work on duration, for instance, every event—even the most unexpected—occurs in conformity with the system I have previously set up. And the result can sometimes be quite beautiful, because it is arbitrary and because I have not chosen it to become a plastic object.
The essential quality of existence concerns where one is at any instant in time: that locates everything else. Location, as a phenomenon of space and time, has been transposed by most art forms into manifestations of visual equivalence: that is, as an experience located at the ends of the eyeballs. I am interested in transposing location directly into “present” time by eliminating things, the appearance of things, and appearance itself. The documents carry out that role using language, photographs and systems in time and location.