At the beginning of Márquez’s «One Hundred Years of Solitude», Macondo’s patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, wants to move the idyllic yet isolated community he founded to another, more accessible location. And, since no one else wants to go with him, he decides that he and his wife, Úrsula, and their son should leave by themselves.
“We will not leave,” his wife says, reminding him that Macondo was their son’s birthplace.
“We have still not had a death,” he tells her. “A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground.” To which his wife replies, “If I have to die for the rest of you to stay here, I will die.”
We abide by the idea of home as a conviction. So much that home exists in symbiosis with life and death, bestowing upon them superior significance. What is it about home that gives us courage and certainty to face the cyclical transitions between life the death in an equable manner?
I reached Death Valley on my second trip to the US Southwest. After passing the dramatic scenic drive through the Navada-Califlornia border from the east, and crossing the north-eastern peak of Amargosa Range, I stood at the valley’s east entrance Hell’s Gate. With sun overhead tilting west, hot air so aggressive that it stomps. Sweat evaporates in such a speed that it vanishes instantly. Faint noise of cracking sand finds its way piercing through constant violent wind gusts. Besides the mountain ridge in the distance at the valley’s southern border squirming in heat haze, all that’s left is barren land as far as the eye can see. Being in a foreign and unfriendly place alone, I became aware of an immense, incessant calming energy so familiar that it felt exactly like home should be.
Since 2009 I’ve undertaken several journeys to the desert for this photographic project intended to make manifest the intimations behind that unexpected experience. The project began with not knowing how to shoot before this awe-inspiring land to a place where, after having introspected repetitively in these lone journeys, I began to understand how a certain part of my essence interacts with this immersive wilderness, forming a special bond between this foreign land and I. Being in this place where the scope of time and space in which it exists is so vast that it feels one is in the presence of a higher power, I began to understand how a devoted believer can see the commandments in life after submitting to convictions, and finds peace for life.
«Intervening Variables» Statement
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 group of lens-based collages that examines individuals' role as intervening variables and their transitory, temporary or permanent reactions to their physical and mental environments. 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.
Our world is so intrusive that we build walls to establish boundaries and to declare our ambitions. Yet, until we know that we are truly loved, we won’t feel that we really belong here. This is when we lack those strengths to face these dilemmas and make powerful choices, so that we continue to stay in between the walls, knowing that at least we are safe. «Intervening Variables» looks into those paradoxical moments in which no matter how we choose, we lose something that seems equally important. But somehow we know that, when we become strong enough to walk away from the shadow of these walls, we are one step further to our true self.