Sweepings [2014 – Present]

Yesterday’s sweepings piled up on the sweepings of the day before yesterday and of all its days and years and decades. — Italo Calvino

In 2014, I began to make work inspired by adjuncthood. This ghostly living of coming-and-going from institution to institution, residence to hotel room, class to class, pointed to my existence as a transient intellectual laborer. Rather than photographing the spaces, I decided to sweep them and collected the dirt from the classrooms/labs that I taught and the spaces in which I lived. This was never a daily and consistent act. It was not a ritual but an existential meditation. The sweepings were done in isolation and the solitary nature of each weeping reflects the contingent and transient life.

The collected detritus and mote became material for photograms that I printed in the darkroom on gelatin silver fiber paper. In each print exists the random arrangement of the debris left by the people passing through each space and from the natural and man-made environments. The photograms then become another way to make a photograph specific about place, temporality, and identity. Each work contradictorily suggests and obscures its meaning. Each work is a portrait of the collective movement of all that pass through the space. Each plays with microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds, stretching from the minute to the infinite. This meditation extends to current works on the prints that I am building on with charcoal and paint; a mediation that (like the sweeping) becomes a space between a mental state of nothingness and the socio-political context in which the works are made.

© Colin Edgington 2023