Tawhanga Mary-Legs Nopera, MFA, PhD Candidate The University of Waikato.
Imagine that we’re a world of flâneurs; a global populace of idle wanderers, engaged in daily archaeologies. Each person creates a vault of memories, piled high with images and objects; it’s a way to safeguard the proof of our existence. However, at the same time we make our vault, we are already mining through it, emptying out our life-times to find the things that seem to matter most. In our treasure hunt we search for things we think might capture forgotten emotions, in our future days of faded memory, where we might only trust the things we once forgot. Heidegger writes about the “essence” of technology as being ambiguous; on the one hand it orders truths into distinct and decipherable frames that conceal each other; on the other, it offers boundless revelations (Heidegger, 1977, p. 17). Through our creations, we both stop the world we have made, whilst we make our world anew.
In the art of Riley Claxton, it’s the comical duality of life I notice most. Riley’s camera machines a world of fragments; where all meanings are reduced to curious frames; where time has stopped; where nothing exists but absurd assemblages. Then, in the captured image moment, hidden lines of flight begin to manifest. Riley’s machine begins to conduit multiple realities, multiple questions and multiple emotions. I always smile when I look at Riley’s art, because I immediately think to myself “who would take a photo of ‘that thing’, in that way?” And yet, in the same instance I realise that if Riley hadn’t removed ‘that thing’ from its series of moments, to give it a moment all of its own, I would continue to never really see the questions it has for me. If we are just a world of flâneurs, each with our own machines that make time, then perhaps our technology is only a tool to remind us that reality is ours to recreate.
Heidegger, M. (1977). The question concerning technology: And other essays. Garland: New York. pp. 3-33