PROJECT STATEMENT: Invisible Death
The custom of flying flags at half-mast is at first glance curious, at closer inspection poetic. Flying a flag at half-mast signifies mourning and remembrance. According to British flag protocol, half-mast flags are flown two-thirds of the way up the pole in order to leave leaving room for an “invisible flag of death”*. In Invisible Death I’ve paired this custom with imagery and a process that address ideas surrounding absence and presence.
Utilizing imagery that references the cyclical phases of the moon, I question what it means to preserve, remember and let go. Looking at the four quarters of the moon’s twenty-eight day cycle, there is beautiful symmetry and opposition:
A half moon suggests a Full moon while hiding it from view.
The new moon reflects the full moon.
The first quarter holds memory of the third quarter, and so on.
Photographic in nature, cyanotypes can fade with prolonged exposure to light; however their vibrance can be revived with darkness. The process of cyanotype itself also yields paradox: The absence of light records an object’s presence.
In mourning we choose to actively remember a feeling, person, place, object or moment that is no longer with us. We are left with memory:
We use that which is tangible to bind ourselves to that which is absent.
We are left to rely on symbols.
*Bartram, Grahm, “A Guide to Flag Protocol in the United Kingdom”, extract from British Flags and Emblems, The Flag Institute. Tuckwell Press, Ltd., 2005.