still, Path Infinitum
Installation documentation, AIPAD 2017
Path Infinitum explores the contradictions of keeping wild animals in captivity and raises questions about what it means to participate as a spectator. Kept on display in the center of cities, captive animals can be seen pacing, circling, and rocking to cope with the stress of living in an unnatural environment. Signaling power imbalance and consumption disguised as curiosity, Path Infinitum displays a range of captive animals exhibiting abnormal behaviors.
The impulse to connect with or observe wild animals is rooted in admiration and fascination, but is a dead, outdated idea. Aware of the tremendous need to protect wild places and those that live there, my hope is to contribute to the idea that sentient beings are not meant for spectacle in any form.
Many species right now are extremely vulnerable due to human consumption as well as habitat loss caused by climate change. Is captivity an answer to the imminent loss? Or can threatened species survive and be effectively protected so that they live and thrive in their natural habitats? Experts agree that likely no enclosure is sufficient for the widest-ranging animals. Do we take animals for granted if we are able to see them so easily in captivity, and when they exhibit unnatural behaviors in captivity (as is most often the case), do we accept this as normal? Existing models of captivity and display are ultimately not meant to serve the animals but rather the humans that watch them.
Path Infinitum, was first installed in 2017 at The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, Association of International Photography Art Dealers, at Pier 94 in New York. The video was projected onto the glass entryway, ongoing for the duration of the event. The projection became progressively visible each day as the sun moved across the sky, leaving the entrance illuminated with captive animals into the evening and overnight.