Thoughts From a Bicycle

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What's it like to see like a bat? This is the opening question of a famous 1974 essay by philosopher Thomas Nagel, and it's the thinking behind this ongoing study — part of a manifesto for slower, more playful seeing.

  Detail from a Frozen Stream

Detail from a Frozen Stream

Nagel's question has always been intriguing, partly because it challenges the absolute beliefs we have in our own sensory perceptions. Many of us believe our perceptions to be the de facto standards of reality. And yet, our eyes can only see about 2% of 'light' surrounding us. Bats can echo locate, while birds, fish and insects can see more spectrums of light than we can, with microwaves and electromagnetic waves extend the spectrum of 'light' even further. What's even more fantastic, are the ways monarch butterflies — who like many birds — can follow or 'see' the magnetic path of the earth. With our limited human vision, the rest is left to our imaginations to try to explore. The works here are in part an homage to this type of thinking, but on another level, they are also an homage to the art of image making and capture itself — ideas, processes and steps we've begun to take for granted. Playing with the philosophy 'of Other', it refocuses  perceptions to remind us of all that remains unseen in the common pathways we follow. At its core, is a way of seeing that doesn't ask you to immediately solve what you see, but to settle into their unfolding mysteries, and to surrender to a deeper sense of 'other' life and vantages that we often dismiss.

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Intended as an ongoing sketchbook of observations, the following samples are captured from the landscape in a daily commute — a common path followed back and forth thousands of times on foot and on bicycle over many years. From snowfall to frozen rivers, from beating waves and the broken architecture being reclaimed by the life around it — below is a sampling of the the overlooked variety in the strange and opposing wonders that shape our living, seeing paths.


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