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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Jer Nelsen

SPE Member since 2016
Member Chapter: Midwest

Ad Infinitum

Ad Infinitum is a space for an alternate, overlooked version of the sublime than conventionally appears in art historical narratives. Unlike the raucous, terror-laden sublime of Burke and Kant which puts human in a position of power over nature through use of our agency of experience, this “contemplarary sublime” arises among whispers in quiet spaces of reflection and is a step removed from the nature-bound modern sublime of immediacy purported Barnett Newman. The three art-objects that comprise Ad Infinitum usher in this “contemplarary sublime” through a proxy; they function as wormholes, creating meditative spaces that give a view into a metaphysical, hypercartesian dimension. Through this sort of looking-glass, the three light-based art-objects and their environments situate a viewer to more readily see beyond themselves, quietly cognizant of infinity and somehow strengthened by its lack of limit.

I have had, at junctions, what I would describe as metaphysical, sublime experiences. These experiences were beyond my definition and beyond the scope of my understanding -- unexplainable, unquantifiable, and irrational. These experiences have bolstered and shaped my system of belief and are reflected, though not representationally, within the trinity art-objects, collectively titled Ad Infinitum, which in latin means to infinity.

I position my work within an art historical, philosophical, and scientific context, namely as the work relates to Hans Haacke, a hyper-rational artist and his work with closed microsystems, which he called “event containers”. My art-objects take their form from Haacke’s early work, but subvert the original ideas -- trading his closed systems for open systems and his natural fascination with the observable world for suprasensibility and metaphysics.

As a note: Ad Infinitum also finds itself curiously scratching at the corners of current astrophysical and quantum mechanical notions of time, space, and our perception of reality. It is my intent these new ideas and possibilities within the work will both diversify and bolster the Barthesian ‘aura’ with which the work operates, allowing for a space of contemplation where the viewer starts at zero and tends to infinity.

Sublimis Deus

Lux Hominum

Aurea Lux

Aurea Lux (Video)

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