Portland Maine / Taos,
Peripheral Subsistence is one facet of a nomadic photographic trek across the United States. The images made for this project use the historic wet plate collodion process to explore the entangled survival tactics of people living or subsisting on the fringes of today’s world. Peripheral Subsistence addresses the edge that is described when living within these conditions.
The travels that are the backbone of this exploration are referred to as the Unknown Expedition, a research-driven trek into the peripheral American landscape. The meandering course charted by The Unknown Expedition is determined by evolving research interests and an ever-growing network of people and places.
The coalescing focus of the expedition investigates contemporary forms of subsistence living.
Research subjects have varied from homeless self-proclaimed punks couch surfing in Savannah to the natural gas wells that stud otherwise uninhabited high desert sites. From 2012 to 2013, the Expedition surveyed the perimeter of the United States, traveling the Atlantic coast and into rural areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Georgia, Arizona, and New Mexico. Currently the expedition is investigating public range-lands and off-the-grid high desert living.
Technology and mobile data are shifting the way we perceive and interact with the world. With this shift, the speed of one’s intake is increased. We are enabled to look at numerous landscapes at one time, or to see a singular landscape in multiple, incommensurable forms. Digital cameras, mobile phones, laptops, GPS systems, etc., simultaneously ask us to consider and engage with the landscape’s present state from a radically new technological vantage point of temporal tracings.
Atmospheres uses this perspective to investigate the workings of moisture, water, and climate. The recorded forms that are revealed in these experimental photographs depict these conditions through direct reactions with photographic film and chemicals. The collection offers a subjective description of the moisture or atmospheric climate within my laboratory. The affects of moisture become apparent as forms grow, shift, and dry out. My interest in this work lies in the exploration of the physical traits that construct place. Through the chemical interactions that make a photograph, these images capture unique views of water and its affects on objects in a climate.
Embedded within a group of friends the Accretion Archive NOLA-Santa Fe documents contemporary transient lifestyle. Exploration into this way of life offers views of living on the fringe. Needing solid primitive skills and the ability to capitalizing on current technological these methods and modes of being are built on ones ability to cross boundaries. Raw, beautiful, and dangerous survival on these terms is confusing.
The records of this expedition across the Southern United States - Between New Orleans, LA and Santa Fe, NM capture and document the transient and unconventional forms of transportation and survival that we practiced as we hitched and hopped trains across the given social and ecological terrain. Historically situated we became hobos; living out of packs, jumping freight trains, and moving at all times. The trek continued beyond this set of images, future portions of the project are being archived in a blog format at www.theunknownexpedition.com. The Accretion Archive NOLA-Santa Fe is printed on Baryta paper at various sizes.
Patterns of Aggression
Patterns of Aggression explores aggression as it relates to survival. The images depict the delicate relationship of something becoming and the qualities inherent in this change.
The Source uses visual experimentation to expose visions of the sun hidden from the human eye. Pushing at the idea of revealing that which cannot be seen the works reflect on our contemporary understandings of place, space and time. Abstract and detailed depictions of the sun pick up subtle silhouettes of trees and power lines grounding the images. However details in the sun’s relationship to clouds and atmosphere combine with aberrations in the wet plate emulsion creating an abstracted view of the qualities experienced within a place. In a reflexive manner, the works also play with the idea of looking into the sun - and photographing the source of light.
Cole investigates landscape, place, environment, and geography, through strata of observation, technology, subjectivity, and his surroundings. He uses traditional, historic and digital photographic mediums: GPS, environmental data sets, augmented sampling procedures, and classification to investigate our current present state. Cole received an interdisciplinary M.F.A. from the Maine College of Art, and has been working, living and observing while traveling throughout the county in a nomadic format. Over the last few years Cole has collaborated with the arts collective Spurse, and the non-profit art organization the Creative Material Group [CMG]. Recently he has lectured at The Boston Center for the Arts, The Maine College of Art, The University of Maine in Orono, and Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. At the present he is exploring ones ability to subsist within our contemporary environment, while furthering his inquirers into emergent and experimental photographic processes, perspectives, and applications.
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