The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually or Every Man Be Blind (2018 - ongoing)
Install shots from a solo show at The California Institue of the Art, Main gallery, CA, USA.
“Truth and the apperception of truth, in my view, are what make civilization and progress possible. The denial of these things ultimately, perhaps irrevocably, undermines civilization.”(1) It is not about belief in science and history, it is about belief in the fact that our knowledge represents the world as close to the truth as it is humanly possible at present moment. Knowledge is contributing and pushing humankind to the ultimate truth, that exists no mater if we know it or not. Each and all of us construct our own truths, starting from where life and the universe came from to imaginary worlds filled with hidden treasures.
Three years ago E. was browsing the internet when he came upon a poem that was supposed to lead someone to a valuable hidden treasure. It is hidden somewhere along the Rocky Mountains. It is estimated that around 65,000 people(2) have tried to search for it and 4 people have died(3) doing so. Since then he has been trying to solve the concealed clues in the poem and has made a few trips out in the wild to ascertain his solve even though unsuccessful so far, he keeps believing. E. once told me: “I think, if I’m right, I have been the closest. I have been within a 100 feet, and I couldn’t get to it because and this is part of the fascination part, is that mother nature just kicked my butt.”(4) He plans to go again next spring.
Joseph Parker is a Caltech scientist who is studying a Rove Beetle (Staphylinidae). When I met Joseph in his lab, he told me in an extended interview: “It wasn’t science that got me interested in science, it was the beauty of insect world and the diversity of it and the kind of alien nature of it and just the sense that I wanted to connect with it in some regards. The thing I liked to do most is just go looking for stuff and seeing things for the first time that I read about or saw images in books or better still being able to take them back into my house and put them into an aquarium where I would have made a reconstruction of their habitat where they normally live.”(5) “The tiny beetles are everywhere, but most interestingly, in ant and termite colonies, where they evolved to live as social parasites, mimicking the ants in body shape and producing chemicals that in some cases even convince the ants to feed them. In other cases they prey on ant young and steal food, all the while masquerading as colony members. Most remarkably, many lineages have independently evolved the same changes in body shape and chemical gland functioning, making them rich turn for pursuing deep questions about physical and behavioural evolution.”(6)
1. Morris, Errol. The Ashtray: (or the Man Who Denied Reality). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.
2. Santos, Fernanda. "On the Hunt, 'Where Warm Waters Halt,' for a $2 Million Treasure." The New York Times. December 21, 2017. Accessed November 20, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/05/us/treasure-hunt-in-rockies-for-2-million-dollars.html.
3. Hawkins, Derek. "Man Who Died in Yellowstone Fall Was Hunting for Treasure Millionaire Says He Buried." The Washington Post. February 21, 2018. Accessed November 05, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/02/21/man-who-died-in-yellowstone-fall-was-hunting-for-treasure-millionaire-says-he-buried/?utm_term=.0e007a91b959.
4. From an interview with E. (9.26.18)
5. From an interview with Professor Parker in his Caltech lab (10.24.18)
6. Gorman, James. "How a Common Beetle May Offer Deep Insights Into Evolution." The New York Times. April 17, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/science/beetle-evolution-parasite.html.
7. Series title taken from a poem "Tell All The Truth" by Emily Dickinson