THE EYE OF THE CYCLOPS – by Joseph Mulligan

Menno Aden has carried out aerial surveillance in Berlin. Cautiously & silently, he has positioned himself on the ceiling of 30 rooms in order to capture the imagery of everyday life.

Now a shoe store, now a dentist’s office, now a storage closet, now a bedroom. He has obtained certain data that may contain clues for the detective work that his photo art requires of its viewers. 

His Raumportraits / Room Portraits harness the early 20th century technique of montage & direct it at the expression of “more than just rooms,” as Karen Helmsteidt has suggested, “but intimate scenes of life lived” – scenes that, let us add, depict human life without visually representing the body (1).

“At first the mostly deserted spaces and rooms look like scale models. Only after a closer look does one realize that the rooms are real,” remarks Uwe Goldenstein. This “impossible perspective”, moreover, is attained by attaching the camera to a monopod, hoisting the monopod to the hight of the ceiling & taking 100-150 images from multiple angles while stabilizing the camera at different points on an invisible grid. The images are then montaged until each pixel lines up flush with the next, giving the impression that only one photograph was ever taken & the feeling that the Eye of the Beholder is located precisely above each & ever inch of these human habitats.

The other  night, after looking through Menno Aden’s Room Portraits for several hours, thinking about  what they mean to say, wondering if they mean what they say, I fell into a restless sleep. Then, in the strangest dream, Menno Aden appeared to me as a Cyclops. A grotesque monster of gargantuan proportions. Yet, one that did not possess the fury that traditionally characterizes such beasts. No. This was a curious Cyclops who, on account of his great size, was only able to observe human life at his feet by removing his only eye from its socket & extending it downward in his hand. He directed that oversized eyeball, coated in saline secretions, at the house across the street from where I was standing – a house almost identical to all the others in the neighborhood. & suddenly a woman ran out of that house, shouting & shaking a cast-iron skillet: “Hey you! Up there! Hey, down here! At this house visitors enter through the front door!” I awoke in a sweat to the cackling of jackhammers…. Continue reading article at Barner Books.

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