It is especially at highly fraught, impactful moments which challenge our core values that human autonomy is threatened with reduction to simply that of an intervening variable, frail, sensitive and short-lived, which often makes the mental states manifested during such times intense and long lived. “Intervening Variables” is a series that uses these “mental environments” as a vehicle to examine individuals’ role as intervening variables and their transitory, temporary or permanent reactions to this environment. Here the subjects’ mental environment is visualized as a tangible place, and then the individuals, which represent human core values, are placed in the picture to express their interactions within it.
In this project, people are observed in macro perspective, often not distinguished from each other, and as a result, represented by the same silhouette in most cases. The series comes from the creator’s everyday observations and understandings of human nature, and it also serves as a homage to those subject individuals whose actions might have somewhat resembled that of a Greek hero. The creation process for this series upended my usual stages of creating a photograph, in which the subject determines the subject matter. In contrast, the present work is a type of collage, where visual elements are sought for only after the concept is prepared. After the creation process, the photographed objects’ everyday meaning is disintegrated and new meanings are created. This transformation process involves visualizing an idea that’s intuitively evocative, making the creation process emotional and personal. In addition to searching for inspirations from within and from people around me, I also try to find them in others’ artistic creations, and in collective memory and as well as collective consciousness in hopes of creating for the spectators cathartic and psychologically resonant experiences.
By Pohan Wu