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A n   E f f o r t    A f t e r   M e a n i n g

'An Effort After Meaning,' is the psychological term used to describe how brains process visual information by relating back to past memories in order to make sense of one's current reality.  This means, that through perceiving, imaging, remembering, thinking, and reasoning, humans attempt to bring past knowledge to create meaning for current visual events.  Therefore, every person's visual reality becomes very specific to oneself as present occurrences are sorted into schemas of past experience.  Contrary to the common belief that visual information is processed by the brain as a photograph is by a camera, there is much more that goes into visual processing that is unique to the viewer.  Also, contrary to the belief that memory is an accurate video recording of past events, memory rather sorts past information by means of assimilating the world.  Each individual is continuously creating sense of his or her own unique reality based upon memory of past experiences, attempting to seek meaning and make sense of life itself.


A fossil is a marking of the past which exists within the present through natural geologic processes.  Fossils mark a frozen moment within a continuous timeline.  Similarly, clay allows marks to be made within a plastic earth medium to freeze in time through the ceramic firing process.  Cameras, much in the same, freeze markings of light and shadow within time as photographs.  By using a light sensitive photo emulsions on ceramic surface, dimension and form come together to create a surreal world that our brains are forced to process in a new way.  Using a multiple pinhole camera, a spherical vessel is exposed to a 360 degree view of a place in time.  The vessels represents our existence and relationship to place, and the markings of a present moment that our brains are unable to hold onto alone.  Using another light sensitive chemical process, cyanotypes, artifacts of unique organic matter are collected and captured from the same place the sphere was exposed to be arranged and captured in the pattern of a brain scan on ceramic tile.  The brain scans become the memory of the markings on the vessels: the collecting and recalling that occurs to continuously make an effort after meaning.

An Effort after Meaning Art installation was Carrie Hack's Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis body of work.  All ideation and design was independently directed and all objects shown were created by hand.  All ceramic spheres were slipcast by plaster-turned molds made by hand.  A low fire porcelain body and clear low-fire glaze was formulated by Carrie specifically for this project.  All pinhole cameras to expose the photo-emulsion coated spheres were also made by hand, specific to this project.  Screens were produced by hand and exposed on the slipcast cyanotype coated tiles to then be mounted for display.  All tripod stands were also created by hand to showcase the ceramic finished orbs.  To learn more about the process please feel free to reach out.

This installation was exhibited at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in the Hudson Valley area of New York in 2014.

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