|Since 2000, I have created several projects mining my newspaper collection and exploring the afterlife of images and the politics of media imagery and archiving. [See Photographic Interference, Random Interference, and Reverb.] My current project Above the Fold continues this trajectory but deals with the totality of the collection. In my studio, over 6,000 front page-sections of the New York Times are arranged according to content of the photograph above the fold to form a comparative and analytical sculpture.
In analyzing and looking at the front-page images over the years, I saw history repeating itself in the form of recurring image tropes. I realized that I could classify the papers according to the subject matter of the photograph above the fold as a means to examine how news is visualized and transmitted. Categories presented themselves to me including men with guns, people holding photos, dead bodies, people grieving, memorials, protest, war and conflict, refugees and migrants, weather, natural disasters, sports, weather, U.S. presidents, politicians posing for photo ops or campaigning, and more. Over the years, the relative size of the categories change as trends emerge and boundaries are broken: more dead bodies appear, the number of photographs of refugees grow, images of protest appear more frequently, seeing men grieving is more common, and politicians’ photo-ops are often subverted. The tallest piles are U.S. Presidents and Men & A Few Women with Guns. The smallest is Arts & Fashion.
In the installation iteration, 32 stacks of New York Times newspapers will form the architectural landscape with an adjacent small screen playing a chronological slideshow of the front pages in the corresponding stack. Walking among the piles will allow viewers to explore in a very concrete form images that construct the news and make history.