“lapses in Thinking By the person i Am”, Josephine Pryde at the Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania
Recently, on the day after Christmas, I was lucky enough to catch Josephine Pryde‘s exhibit, “lapses in Thinking By the person i Am” just one day shy of its closing at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania.
This clean yet incredibly rich and interactive exhibit consisted of a series of photographs which focusses primarily on hands in various states of touch, from both the inanimate to the poetic. The sensory journey was enhanced by the opportunity to ride a miniature train, a 1:10 scale model Union Pacific two-car freight train running at 2 m.p.h. along the exhibit to view the images from the beginning to the end, and then back to the beginning. As I gazed upon the images, I wondered if this experience was metaphorical for seeing life’s moments flash before one’s eyes? Or was it analogous to memory? Did this action of movement add significance to what we may consider to be the mundane?
These beautiful portraits are visually pleasing in their color and choice of object under manipulation, such as a touch-sensitive lamp base, smartphone screen, sweater, zipper, and pine cone. Because these images were photographed using a macro lens, the viewer is instantly transported into the moment. The visions of touch are felt as cold, smooth, itchy, prickly, jagged.
Josephine Pryde, lapses in Thinking By the person i Am, ICA, photograph by Laura Storck, view from model train
“In the context of the gallery, it could be said that the composition, lighting, and general style of Josephine Pryde’s photographs recall fashion and portrait photography, but this would ignore the fact that fashion and portrait photography refer to art photographs, snapshots, documentary footage, and more…Curator Jamie Stevens writes of this series, “These images act as a potential record of how hands are being used today and become a close analysis of a new body semiotics that has arrived with ‘smart’ technologies.” We have always thought with our hands — building, gesturing, inventing. What is new, and what Pryde has turned her lens onto in these images, is the way our mental processes can now be extended and broadcast via our fingertips. There is a responsive potential from anytime and anywhere to anytime and anywhere.” — Anthony Elms, Chief Curator
Josephine Pryde (born 1967, Alnwick, UK; lives in Berlin and London) is Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at the University of the Arts, Berlin.
Written and photographed by Laura Storck
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