(A/I)llusion by Robert Walter

MEDIUM: Digital Photography

The photographs were made using a Pixelstick — the text is stored on a memory card attached to a 6-foot rod of 200 LEDs. The camera takes a long exposure photo as I walk by with the Pixelstick, and the letters appear to float in midair.

They form the most famous lines from T. S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” : “We shall not cease from exploration / and the end of all our exploring / will be to arrive we started / and know the place for the first time.” These lines from Eliot’s “Little Gidding” summarize the creative process. Eliot made highly quotational poetry that referenced works that he considered part of the Western “Canon.”

In the Postmodern age, the notion of a dominant canon has been challenged & all but dissolved. The photo encapsulates the conflict between the whole & the parts, and between the new (photography, profuse city lighting) & the old (Eliot, Western Canon). The irony is that none of these concepts are necessarily in competition — it is only when we “arrive where started” that we see something for the first time.