Presbyopic Obstruction

(2019) 2555 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, Arizona
storefront, paint, retail signage, plotter prints, pinhole lens, projection wall, light
in situ
 

Through reimagined retail signage, window displays, and the conversion of the interior into a camera obscura, Presbyopic Obstruction is a site-specific installation that explores individual perception and how it is both consciously constructed as well as shaped, knowingly and unknowingly, by forces outside of our control.

Projected onto a specially erected wall made of unfinished drywall, the camera obscura offers a new and unique view of Broadway Boulevard just as construction has begun to widen the major East/West roadway in Tucson. Upside-down and faint, the image created by the room sized camera requires patience and ocular adjustment to view.

Meanwhile, on the exterior, the storefront signage presents three distinct words—Mary, Marry, and Merry—that, as a result of vowel merging, are pronounced identically by the vast majority of English speakers in the United States. (Those that hear a distinction, only 17%, typically reside or grew up in the Northeast.)

Both the ocular and oratory experiences presented by the work—on the interior and exterior respectfully—require a concerted effort on the part of the viewer to process, interpret, and understand. We are conditioned to accept what we see or hear first hand as fact—hence phrases like “seeing is believing,” and “I know what I heard,”—when in fact our perceptions are inherently subjective and can easily play tricks on us. Presbyopic Obstruction encourages viewers to consider the limits of their own perception in how they form foundational understandings of the world.

Interior View
Exhibition Poster (front)
Exhibition Poster (rear)