We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Eliot
I spent the last 10 hours chasing the longest sunset of my life. Lifting off from LAX, our star was just beginning to drop low on the horizon – now, from Tokyo, I’m watching the blues of dusk finally darken. It’s unnerving to see something so reliably brief dilated for hours on end, and this brings questions – questions about what makes up a moment in time, how flexible these moments can be, and which ones we build the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves upon.
My own mental map is made up of a series of kaleidoscoping moments, some intimate, others cosmic – a grasping for a sense of our small place in the universe; thinking through our unique historical moment as human beings of the 21st century; allowing myself the freedoms and ambiguities that comprise the mid-twenties; a painful goodbye to an unexpected friend. I suppose this current undertaking is a lean towards new, smaller moments to help inform the larger ones, but I suspect both dimensions, large and small, act and react upon each other in ways too complex to parse through during a red-eyed layover.
The move into new moments, though, requires separation, a division of self that often feels like irremediable loss. This parting, whether from places, people, or perspectives, is always agonizingly uncertain – the voice that calls us to transcend our experiences is distant and wavering. But I’m convinced these pieces of self remain, suspended in memories, habits, and the unconscious spaces beneath our perceptions, waiting to be gathered into novel moments that project backwards and forwards into our self-histories and unite energies we long thought lost.
I struggle with using language for this task. My relationship to words is of the Sartrean variety, where all attempts at a genuine encounter devolve into desires for domination, and the ugly oppressive dynamics that follow. Rarely do I let language speak without narrow intent or arrogance; often does it alienate me from the richness of lived experience. This space will be the latest in a series of attempts to find the middle – plus an opportunity to share some of the photography (i.e. writing with light) that has proved a much easier and more honest medium for reflection. I hope it’s an interesting ride.