P. Seth Thompson
Personal Statement

On the morning of January 28, 1986, I sat with my first grade teacher and fellow classmates in our school cafeteria, watching on live television the launch and subsequent disaster of the Challenger Shuttle. Before this moment, mass media did not directly influence my perception of reality: monsters, superheroes, cartoons, and the news were not real. Beaming from the same source, the realization that six astronauts and one teacher were dead sunk into my awareness. Images became real and reality seemed an illusion.

Using the visual language of cinema and television as the entry point, and digitally reconstructing the collective imagination, my work highlights the slowly elusive boundary between authenticity and theatricality. As a result, the cosmic array of day-glo colors within the work act as a vehicle to examine the theoretical concepts of film, quantum physics, spirituality, and mechanical reproduction’s “aura.”

The desire to deconstruct the image began with my incomprehensible absorption of a disastrous moment. Photography’s mimetic properties continue to evade the viewer with the false notion of “that which has been” and, in effect, acts as the tangible placeholder of our memories. Paradoxically, mass media has shown us another world: a place that houses our species fantastical spirit, leading us into a realm of infinite possibilities where time, space and perceptions all fade away into pure abstraction.