recent common ancestor
above : installation at Axiom Gallery, Boston , 2010
"In biology and genealogy, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of any set of organisms is the most recent individual from which all the organisms are directly descended."
- Wikipedia, 1/29/2019
In 2010 I began a project of photographing things that looked the same but were not, using color as a grouping mechanism.
Several years later, working from the central question of "When is it no longer a thing but another thing?" and returning to the previous point of focus to examine an ongoing set of ontological questions about identity and naming I spent 6 weeks in late 2012/early 2013 building an installation in the Mills Gallery in Boston during open hours. I made objects, images, and text, always with an eye to the precarity of definition. I installed the work as I made it. Years later I am far more comfortable with the images and objects than with my words. I am unsure if this is due to a heightened malleability of the visual, a need for linguistic acuity and precision (and revision over time), or a measure of my relative levels of craft. I am always my own experiment.
Items in the installation included: black and white photocopies of several bound covers of the journal Texte zur Kunst (all of the images were black), extreme closeup photographs of the cover of 2 duplicate Miranda July books, identical gold ornaments clipped to a barcoded piece of wood, and a video of my hand signing (ASL) the starting question "When is it a thing no more but another thing?
top, middle and bottom: installation views, Mills Gallery, Boston, 2013. Top right photo by Melissa Blackall.