THE END OF THE BEGINNING – Craig Tuffin 10th November 2021 to 23rd January 2022
In our everyday world, we wake and go about the day involved in one experience after another until our energy wanes and we eventually sleep to prepare for the next. In that time, we generally leave little thought for the universe, gravity or the concept of time.
Scientists, archaeologists and theologians have always considered the nature and meaning of time. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy or disorder will always increase in a closed system, that the universe is moving from a state of order to disorder. A simplified illustration of that might be that my life will eventually end, and my body will cool and slowly decompose. It can’t return to its earlier functional state. This example expresses time in a linear sense, much like a train moving on its track, inevitably moving farther away from its origin.
But what if we consider time as cyclical. Many indigenous cultures recognise a circular pattern, placing the individual (or group of individuals) in the centre of such a circle. When asked to draw that representation of time, a friend presented me with an image of a flower, where the past is illustrated by the outer petals and the future held within its inner bud. To First Australians, history is a concept that doesn’t isolate itself, it consolidates the past, present and future.
The daguerreotype presented itself at photography’s genesis. Shortly after Nicéphore Niépce made his heliograph and partnered with Louis Daguerre, the “photograph” was publicly and spectacularly born. These unique objects are unlike any other photographic process, with an image suspended on its mirror-like silver surface. The successful viewing of such an object is contingent on the light source illuminating it at any time. In a sense, it’s in a state of delicate transformation. What becomes visible to an audience is completely dependent on the environment in which it is experienced. Where ‘truth’ might be questioned in any photograph, a daguerreotype also challenges what might be considered reality. The irony rests in the authenticity of the artifact itself. Everything in and on that image-object occurred at the time of its making. What might be considered errors are just as present as successes, making it a truthful entity, regardless of a contextualised environment.
Round images are not something new. Peter Wilhelm Friedrich Voigtlander produced a conical brass camera in 1841 which accommodated small circular daguerreotypes of a 3.15” (80mm) diameter. The Kodak snapshot camera released in 1888 produced circular photographs from a camera containing a roll of film with 100 available exposures. The famous slogan by George Eastman “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest” was borne out of that invention.
This work uses an accumulation of methodological and representational histories to describe a series of moments that may exist within any part of a past, present or future.
These abstract landscape scenes offer a subjective view of a world, where perceived time is irrelevant, where the world is made perfect and the only place mankind might be found is on the outside looking in.
**A series of 8” (203mm) round daguerreotypes