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2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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Linda  Alterwitz

SPE Member since 2015
Member Chapter: West

Self Without Interpretation


Self Without Interpretation, an ongoing project, extends my investigation into the complexities of the relationship between humans and the environment.

Through my own participation, I have begun to bring myself physically into this work and contemplate the most meaningful threads that bind me to this time and place in our environment.

I personally engage in the collection of brain activity data as material for this work. I have learned to operate a multi-electrode, medical-grade EEG device to record EEG data myself. As a continuation of the participatory approach I explored in Just Breathe, I invited friends, family and colleagues to attend private sessions in my studio and recorded their EEG data in real time. I initiated a 6-minute series of questions about love and loss in their lives and asked each participant to think deeply about answers. Upon completion, I inquired about a meaningful environment within the natural world that he or she has turned to for sanctuary, providing me with necessary information in preparation for realizing the photographic series Self Without Interpretation.

I review each recording and collect several digital screen-captures representing a visually intriguing selection of brainwaves. I print the data onto surgical gauze, the same material used in Envisioning the Veil, which symbolizes pain and healing. I have begun to travel throughout the United States in search of described sanctuaries. I walk within the grounds carrying only my digital camera and gauze prints of participants' brainwaves. Initially, I released the gauze into the natural environment to photograph its movement through currents of air or water. As my process evolved, I began to photograph the gauze after wrapping, suspending or submerging it within the environment — thus enabling me to have a more personal approach to the engagement in my overall project.

The resulting imagery, thus far, reveals a painterly quality brought about by visual movement, texture and light. I will continue to walk upon sacred grounds, with an open mind, to search for invisible threads that continue to bind me to Earth. These metaphorical photographs offer a remembrance that the earth, and the collective minds of its people, are intrinsically connected. It is my hope that this work will offer viewers valuable, visual acknowledgement of the fragile and important connection to our planet that is needed for our common survival.

DM (Suspended)

NB (Entangled)

DSA (Adrift)

BL (Ensnared)

DA (Airborne)

CS (Tied)

JC (Airborne)

JW (Entwined)

LA (Entangled)

POL (Entwined)

DA (Submerged)

MVS (Entangled)

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