When the Details are Irretrievable

When the Details Are Irretrievable (Perpetrators & Victims), 1999-2000

Mixed media, for installation: 45 images, archival ink on newsprint (from paper negatives), dimensions variable; 6 framed gelatin silver prints (each 8 x 10 inches)

selected images: When the Details Are Irretrievable

Any diligent reader of a city’s newspapers will be struck by how many individual, senseless tragedies there are on any given day…but after awhile, after digesting countless reports of crime and violence, that same reader will find that these lurid stories become interchangeable, and one person’s tragedy becomes synonymous with another’s.  Fascination with tales of morbid crimes or missing victims should come as no surprise: we are human; instinctually, we recognize that someone else’s tragedy could have been our own. But eventually (and usually sooner, rather than later), precisely because someone else’s tragedy is not our own, we will let it go; events and personalities that only yesterday were fascinating and distinct will today just fade and fold together. And so, these images, these faces of perpetrators and victims, culled and torn from the daily news, enlarged and assembled into a photographic collection of residual images and texts, act as testament to our deteriorating recollections of recurrent evils and loss. 


"a subject for meditation:
the arithmetic of compassion"

–excerpted from "Mr Cogito Reads the Newspaper" by Zbigniew Herbert (trans. by John and Bogdana Carpenter)