For the past two years, my writing and research has been examining representations of space and place. A few months ago, I wrote that “places are made by returning”. This photographic place was made by returning many times to the same space – in the rain, in bright sun, at different hours of the day. The result is a representation of a single space that converges with a simultaneity of many times. The one thing holding all these photos together is the one thing not seen in any of them – the central point; the origin.
The geometric spatiality that this piece is built upon takes inspiration from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Not only is his preoccupation with geometry reflected in the composition of many of my photographs, his ideas about perspective brought inspiration to the spatial installation of this work. His notes suggest such a convergence of images at a single central point:
“Here [in the eye] forms, here colours, here the character of every part of the universe are concentrated to a point; and that point is so marvellous a thing” (da Vinci).
What, here, is the central point? Is it the eye, the camera lens, the rotating body that controls the field of view?
But then again, what is the point of the point, it being invisible? Are not its departures, its views, of more consequence?
“The point, being indivisible, occupies no space. That which occupies no space is nothing.” (da Vinci).
OuLiPo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle) is a group that cultivates various literatures based upon inventive constraints. The group describes a writer of OuLiPo literature as “a rat who builds himself the labyrinth that he proposes to escape.” George Perec was one such “rat,” whose experiments with constraints were often grounded in a sense of place. At times, he recorded obsessive inventories of a single space; at other times, he returned again and again to the same place, letting the layers of time accrete in his writing. He examined “space as inventory, space as invention”. This piece takes a similarly spatial constraint – all photographs are taken from the same precise point. While they don’t form an exhaustive inventory of the space – there are many spaces between the photographic snapshots – they do highlight a quotidian perspective of a place, foregrounding the daily sights that might otherwise go unnoticed. This, too, is the effect of Perec’s work.
All Photographs were taken from the same point, using a canon 7d (digital SLR) with a tamron 35-270mm lens. Images were post processed in monochrome using Lightroom.
Erika Luckert is a graduate of the University of Alberta, Canada. Her photography has won several awards, including 3rd place in the International Polar Year Youth Photo Contest, and 1st place in the University of Alberta’s International Week Photo Contest, youth category. As a writer, she received the James Patrick Follinsbee Scholarship in Creative Writing and the Ted and Charlotte Davenport poetry prize and her first play, Guernica, opened at the Edmonton Fringe in 2011 and was nominated for two Edmonton Sterling awards. She will begin her MFA in poetry at Columbia University in September. More information can be found on her website and her Tumblr page.
All photographs courtesy of the artist.