Developed over the course of decades using a cast and crew numbering in the hundreds, the works that follow are guided by a rather simple philosophy — the search for a lost art of ‘seeing’. It may sound slightly romantic, or perhaps even naïve to believe in a notion of lost sight, but the idea was buoyed by the increasing burden on our perceptions and its numbing of a mind’s eye. Although the new mediums driving these perceptions have elevating us to ever-greater connections, in other ways they are falling into the lost depths of distraction and at times even despair. The mission of the 12 Degrees might best be defined as a quest to regain those lost spans of attention, or to see our worlds with greater care and measures of inquiry. Using 12 different degrees, the tapestry of images and ideas explore the roots of visual language and the ways we go about developing our self–understandings from them. Together they represent 12 different complexions of a human condition, each rendered through the guise of Other. As for connecting these guises and their evolutions, that task remains ours and only ours — a belief I am forever hopeful in.
The degrees that follow were each conceived of and choreographed over the course of more than a year. Together they explore how image can provoke emotional and reasoned conflicts in understandings ourselves and others. As an antidote to this, the 12 Degrees use a notion of relativity as the seedbed for their approach. Borrowing material from the ideals in thousands of discarded media scripts and performances, the idea of relativity surfaces here in a rather simple way, reminding us that world is not relative to our perceptions of it, but we and our perceptions are relative to it. This notion leaves us to ask — when presented with the guise of another, what ideal might it be relative in our own lives and why?
This website is the product of thousands of hours of work and countless commissions, and even more discarded attempts that fuelled them. The works and words remain ad-free and are open for all to explore, to provoke thought, or to rekindle parts of a lost span of attention.
Look longer, see more…
Works and Words by Michael Graf.