My Future Present

Digital exhibition pieces submitted as part of group exhibition "The Future Of _Space" at the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles (A+D Museum), curator Anthony Morey, 2020

"The Future of _Space" exhibition asked participants to craft representations of the future beyond Covid-19. The intentional ambiguity of the exhibition's prompt towards medium or content gave exhibitioners a broad range of possibilities for conceptualizing their reality and what it means to go forward.

When I ask myself about the future, I realize the enormity of imagining anything beyond the timeframe of a few days, let alone weeks. Living through this crisis in New York City, my life has seen itself slowly disassembled into its million constituent parts. Every aspect of normal existence has been consumed by Covid-19, and I find I now in many ways live the life of a strange doppelgänger of my former self. Though my fundamental routines remain unaltered, everything that defines their execution and context has been transfigured into something bizarrely alien. I go to work, but from the immediacy of my bedroom. I grocery shop, but not without waiting in a block-long line of beleaguered New Yorkers, where a cough or sneeze has become paramount to firing the first shot in a tense, biological standoff. I still walk down the streets, but as I cross strangers we divert our glances and shield our faces from one another.

Still alike in our cohabitation of this city, we nonetheless find ourselves now separated in at least a few senses. We are immediately separated, when possible, by the physical space of six feet, a precipitous bubble demarcating a supposed space of safety that none of us truly believe in. Emotionally, we are separated by a vastness that I fear will take years to traverse. We stand on a million opposite sides of a spatial, urban void that has removed thousands from our ranks, decimated our systems of care and turned the vibrancy of an urban atmosphere into a silent chaos of danger and infection.

I am not a photographer, but images for me have become a certain method for remembering, if not merely a tool to inscribing what I know will be forgotten. Though the spaces I have inhabit during this moment provide no testimony to the crisis that pervades them, my experience of their urban presence, often strangely alone, has become one of the most direct ways I have to come to terms with this disaster as it lays waste to our communities. This discrepancy of devastation for me has been unsettling — while the virus does entirely nothing in the way of material destruction, it ravages thousands of lives, besieges families and leaves our economy in tatters.

I chose to undertake this prompt, to consider any variety of future, by documenting my present. This collection presents a series of images and texts which I have made in a subtle attempt to make record of my life. That some seem to offer totally normal perspectives of New York only fortifies the absurdity of the reality I find myself in. Amid empty streets, boarded up stores and an army of freezer trucks morbidly alert beside hospitals to house the excess of corpses, these images and their accompanying texts represent the fleeting experiences to which I can only grasp in bearing witness before this unfolding catastrophe.

These images are predominantly not ones I sought to take but rather found myself taking. They are simple, ethereal. In reviewing these little moments, memories that have already fluttered away as the weeks drone by, I have forced a perspective into some, because I knew they could not be real. I have added grain, because in a sense I wanted to destroy them, as if to evade the possibility of this memory. I hope they can be meditated upon not to find answers or meaning, but to simply find oneness with a microscopic corner of the enormity of existence at this moment.