ARCANA, OR, FINDING CONTEXT


Milton is be rumored to be the last human to have read every single book that would have been available to read during his life. Ever since then, there have been moire books than a human could read in a lifetime, so even the most ardent scholars have had to make a choice about what subset of knowledge they will pursue. As the sheer amount of cultural production has exploded in all fields the response of society seems to be to an urge to increasingly balkanize, especially amongst the consumer-driven worlds of American subculture. Of all these subcultures, perhaps it is those who are fans of pen-and-paper role-playing games that are most tenuous. Their stores, their meeting places, the social nature of their hobby, the very categories of objects that their medium is built on (pens, paper, books) are wavering and receding like a mirage in after the monstrous thunderclap of the digital revolution.

In the face of dissolution, the natural response is to create an ever more rigorous, intricate and all-encompassing arcana to differentiate themselves from their tightly nestled brethren. The physical places and the psychological longings fuse into meta-maps. These maps are drawn that only includes the topography of their interests and render everything else as transitional space (even if “the other” may be a dozen other tightly packed shops that have been walked past 1001 times in the same strip mall.) Soon, a psychedelia of paranoia sets in, where every hint suggests and references to this clutched meta-world: Passing "Wilshire Boulevard" is most notable for referencing the "Shire" from Lord Of The Rings. Arcana, is the product of deliberately inducing such a state - of using an obsession with photography to drawing an imaginary map ever more finely until the optics fracture. In that moment, the shard become a mirror that offers a glimpse of the vertiginous landscape of the self. Oscillating inside and outside, the lens is the geography, the geography the lens.