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curator's statement
Brooke Knight’s background in literature combined with a long-standing interest in semiotics has led to his current work with words and images. His art often deals with writing, and involves the act of inscribing onto a variety of substrates as well as referencing the act of looking and investigating environments via body and camera position. Almost all of his work addresses technology and many pieces interface with the internet.

In new series created for this exhibition, he selected minute intersections of latitude and longitude, and made rubbings of the ground—literally and metaphorically “traces”—combining them with photographs of the sky above. This grouping literally frames the downtown area of Boston 1.) the North end of Storrow Drive 2.) the Northeast end of the North End 3.) the Theater District/China Town 4.) Summer Street in Fort Point. In Landmarks, Knight traveled to well-known New York City cultural and civic attractions. Instead of looking up, the way most visitors do when ingesting culturally dictated spaces or become lost, he looked down and photographed the sidewalks. The GPS coordinates of where foot meets pavement—an oft-overlooked interface—were later notated and then overlaid over the scene. Cracks in the sidewalk, the elevation of a step, or the grain of granite here seem both alien and monumental. Likely, his act of photographing was quite humorous to passers-by—a bizarre twist on the tourist photograph (“I was literally standing here”). Hung in a tall grid, the shape of the final display even alludes to the height of buildings and the shape of Manhattan. Knight’s other work “Every Environment is Text Rich #2” was completed simultaneously with Landmarks. Using a digital video camera at the same locations as Landmarks, he spelled out the title phrase by moving the camera in the shape of each letter. Notably, the data gathering for each of the series on display here was completed in one day.

Knight received his MFA in photography from California Institute of Arts and is currently an Assistant Professor of New Media at Emerson College. Regionally, he has shown at Art Interactive in Cambridge, ArtSpace in New Haven, and the University of Maine.

- Leslie K. Brown
artist's statement
These three pieces investigate our relationship with the landscape, specifically how we mark the land. Our ways of understanding where we are has changed with technology, and it is with that technology that we "write" on that space. It seems as we get ever-more technologically sophisticated, we make our connection to the ground in more and more abstract ways: GPS is a perfect example.

Landmarks is comprised of images of the ground at famous New York City places, with precise latitude and longitude locations superimposed on them. Instead of the traditional photographs of these places, the work absents the buildings and landmarks that make them famous. GPS democratizes space, making a cornfield in Iowa seem the same as the Empire State Building.

Every Environment is Text-Rich #2 uses the motion of the camera to spell out the title of the work. This becomes an ecriture on the space, forefronting the notion that the camera not only takes images, but also writes a history itself. Using recognizable locations in a disorienting manner, the technology of the camera becomes the subject.

Up/Down takes the accidental places where the lines of latitude and longitude intersect. Using integers of the minutes of degrees, four specific locations were chosen. The locations frame downtown Boston, and all happen to be out of doors. By taking a rubbing of the ground and photographing the sky, these spaces are abstracted from contextual clues, leaving only their indexical referents.
Click on an image to enlarge.

Captions, left to right:

Empire State Building, from Landmarks series, 1999/2001, Eight framed ink jet prints hung in a vertical grid, 2 columns of 4, 11 x 14 inches each, Courtesy of the artist.  Includes: Empire State Building, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum, New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Washington Square, World Trade Center

From left to right: N 42 °22', W 071 °04'; N 42 °22', W 071 °03'; N 42 °21', W 071 °04'; N 42 °21', W 071 °03'

Copyright © 2002, Photographic Resource Center, Inc.