David J. Trautrimas
Seeing What Doing Nothing Changes
Laser engraved paper
12" x 18"
Printed at Smokestack
Are we the protagonists or narrators or observers of our own existence? Does it continue if we do not observe it? When we are absent, how do these voids influence the situation left behind? A Developing Null is an attempt to express this paradox. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes of a man who leaves his house one morning and doesn’t return for twenty years, during which time he lives in a nearby apartment. Observing his home and family from this vantage—his own life, now a narrative of loss and grief defined by his lack of participation in it—he watches his wife engage with the architectural space and objects within it. There is an analogy here with how we are experiencing not only the lives of others today, but also our own lives.
Working from this combination of reference points, A Developing Null is a taxonomy of everyday things—the objects with and through which life happens. Rendered by the contrast between untouched paper surface and laser-etched removals, these common objects, stand-ins for human presence, are themselves voids yet cast shadows and interact with the space around them.