Ephemeral Fields

Studio set up

Studio set up

“Ephemeral Fields” is a series of 24 autobiographical diptychs that explore the intersections of modern science, philosophy, and mental health.

My father, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, died by suicide exactly 50 years ago, and left 23 small note books with reflections on his life. Five of these books are entirely devoted to “electromagnetic events” and are meticulously transcribed textbooks that include many precise technical drawings. After so many years of missing him, I started to have an impression that his interest in science was driven by desperate and futile attempts to find a scientific explanation for his delusions and feeling of being manipulated.

Life was not much more but combination of electromagnetic events—short, chaotic, unique—the product of unpredictable and mysterious possibilities of random events.

On the left-hand side of the diptych are photographs of my father’s pencil drawings. They are captured with the harsh lighting and deep shadows of experimental 1920s Russian filmmakers, and each involves an element of ephemeral movement.

The images on the right-hand side of the diptych exist in counterpoint and are extracted from mundane everyday objects and occurrences that directly relate to specific events of my father’s life—the mixing of a freshly boiled soup, the fanning out of my father’s playing cards—occurrences that are rarely noticed, or observed. These small, ephemeral moments are unrepeatable, capturing a moment that can only ever happen once. Shown at microscopic scale, these objects transform into something symbolic, unique and ephemeral. These images are empirical “proof” of theories explained by the numbers, equations and diagrams on left side image.

These images are a reflection of my father’s life—how his mind created a semblance of control over random, uncontrollable occurrences, and eventually killed him. Paired together, the diptychs speak to the power of legacy, the narrative of autobiography, mental health, particle physics, and the ephemeral nature of existence.


Homemade potato chip

Studio set up

We would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts through the Research and Creation Grant and the Ontario Arts Council through the Project Grant.