Fragments of the Dying Man is a personal journey of fragility, loss and desire. A diary of someone precariously juggling life and death, desiring to live and also having the fear of reaching the end.
The act of photography is the pretext to get closer. To reconcile. To continue living in the act of having a dual life: one in a vulnerable position of solitude and the other, in the personal spaces of strangers. Some stay. Some fade away.
It oscillates between Isolation and Intimacy. Light and Dark. Day and Night. What’s in control and what’s not. The lines are blurred.
Confronting tuberculosis at a young age of 17 had forced me to live a life of isolation for long, a part of which was associated with stigma, a part with my own fear and shame of not having lived fully and losing time. After the suicide of a lover, to live again was the only way out. Photography became the only way to reconcile. Tragedies that shape the human in you.
Much like the life lived, the images are soiled, weary, damaged and fragile. Desire, illness and death become one. The journey spans many places, near and far.
This journey on one end of which is existing , in solitude, in lands, vast yet confined with so little happening, looking outside for love and sometimes inside, often photographed by strangers. Who is looking at whom? All merge into one another. A faint reminder of a tragic past that haunts again and again. A past filled with anger and despair.
The other end are my encounters with strangers with whom I share spaces in all the while of moving around . Those that let me a shelter, those like me. Encounters and spaces. Confined, intimate and visceral. Much like me, everyone I desire through an image lives a life of ambiguity. Some are erotic performers, some are those who survive by selling their sex, some work odd jobs, only to survive in a fast changing capitalist society that is slowly consuming us all. For me the identity is not based on what the person does to exist in a world where power dictates social norms and moral codes. Different worlds struggling to exist, finding a way out only through the camera, without the fear of being judged. Some have been abused, some bullied, some in a deep sense of anguish, exploding through the feeling of desire and being desired. Some alive, some not anymore. Photographing leads people to share their most intimate experiences and some break down in the process.
Textual passages, archival conversations, rephotographed images, screenshots , “screen memories” , repetitions and other fragile traces of the medium become a way to connect us all in a journey that is amorphous, ever escaping, loosely held together in this diary. Repeating motifs, gestures, expressions hold on to each other. This calls for total participation in an image, not only in the represented or the representation, but in the desires that accumulate in it.
Through this I try to live up to my own questioning of desire and the inarticulate form that is called love. In between proximity and promiscuity…
I seek the other and in this constant pursuit of desire, pleasure, fear, doomed to fail , I find my own reconciliation.
The Fragments…are an assemblage, like broken shards of glass, inviting the reader to question not only desire, love and the lack of it, but also to ask how are we looking at each other in a post capitalist world which is pulling us apart, and meant to only limit us.
I am only a character with the others in this game we call life. Or as I believe it to be “The economy of desire”.
“The Eye of the other into my diaristic experiences” ..
2014-2019. Work in progress.
Music by ©Oake