For decades, hundreds of thousands of different images, media transcripts, surveys, and performances were collected from a vast library of discarded image-based assignments. During that time, a core group of works were distilled into twelve interwoven essays or Degrees (along with two mirrored volumes) based on the scripts from this larger whole. Each of the 12 Degrees is a distinct, randomly arranged expression of beauty, time, death, desire, worship, or deception, together creating soliloquies across a shared human divide. Central to this idea is a search for Otherness — or a way of seeing that is not defined by measures of difference or suspicious margins, but by a more expansive idea that struggles with the ideal, and our endless pursuits to command it. The 12 Degrees of Other explore the working elements of these ideals in the same manner that we read and misread the elements of our nature. “In doing so, Otherness reminds us that ‘image’ is not born of social tropes, technologies, or genres of expression that dismiss their many roots — but are born from the opposing faces and facets of life itself.” Split across two mirrored volumes, both halves of Other highlight that our rituals and routines are not simply defined by casts, colours, piety, or prestige but by a growing need to find deeper connections between our disparate ways. Within an overburdened landscape, it leaves the musings and volumes that follow to become a series of concentric circles that slowly spiral into a ‘poetry of our other selves’ available to anyone willing to go on this inaugural ride.
Works and Words — Michael Graf