When I was young and couldn’t get to sleep, sometimes I’d play a mind-game that I knew I couldn’t win. It could only end in a short-term, breathless depression – almost a minor panic attack, where I’d breathe heavily, bound to my body and bed. In this game, I’d imagine myself as having died and gone to the afterlife; I’d put my posthumous self into different states of being and action as infinity marched on, keep extending that, and then question, “What new things could happen now?” All roads led me to entropy. Fear formed in me from the idea of an existence so long (as to be outside of durational measurement) that experience within would flatten and overlap, become repeated and devalued by exhausted variables. After millions, billions, and trillions of years, “heaven” – whatever that was at the start – was a vague plain with an ill, gray horizon and figures brought down by a crippling gravity. It became a place and state of fatigue that couldn’t escape from itself.
My work draws upon various dispositions and conjectures of my own relating to the prospect of one’s death, notions of an afterlife, and the idea of experience as a type of depletable well. I’ve consulted a personal history that is characterized by an inner intensity. In these drawings and chopped up narratives, there is a tucked-away yearning for extraordinary experience, unending exploration, and “life” after “death.” But paired with these yearnings is the grotesque – that of the end of richness and texture and permutation. The promise of something more introduces a fear of the extinction of worthwhile experience within perpetual being. The ultimate terror is a loathing so exhausted by its lack of effect that it turns to an all-consuming boredom. As a consequence, the yearning is shot through by a sarcastic and cynical denial of the self’s hopes.
Death is the universal human event that is unlived. Throughout the relevant pieces, I yield directions for funereal arrangements, touch on our seeming inability to fully appreciate a fast-approaching death (as Hume put it so well, our “irrationality” is that which seems to preserve our sanity), and in general pick at respective attitudes.
Wittgenstein wrote, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” We can prepare; we can envision; we can presume. But we can’t participate in these things as first-hand facts. Death, the afterlife, and the infinite are places of wordlessness, ever-obscuring barriers built up of bricks of silence and helmeted by grayed skies. Yet, in spite of what I see as that accurate call to restraint, I’m compelled to imaginatively impose with an arrangement of mazes — to, in my own way, imagine a species of infinity. These are labyrinths of muted exuberance and pressurized isolation. They are nonsensical tomb-playgrounds, caught up in self-serving growth, and unable to extract themselves from a melancholy, even as they yearn for adventure and unending variety.