Epoché - Guilherme Ghisoni

The use of interventions on the negative film is also part of the Epoché essay, but no longer with the primary purpose of expressing the materiality of the photographic image (as it is in Material Objects and Yet Present). During my graduation and post-graduation studies, one author that left a deep impression on me was Sextus Empiricus, in the work Outlines of Pyrrhonism. According to him, through philosophy, we seek the truth on maters that are not evident. But if we could take the rational inquire further enough, we would often find the existence of contrary arguments of equal force. Faced with the equanimity of force in opposing arguments, the only rational path would be the suspension of the judgment (called in Greek "epoché"). The dogmatic one is the one who does not take the rational exercise it limits and, by "self-love," places himself as someone who has found the truth. The skeptic would be the one who, for the love of humanity, would continue the rational exercise until the equanimity of forces and the subsequent suspension of the judgment. This suspension, by mere act of chance, gives the skeptic the tranquility (called in Greek "ataraxia"), which was initially what he aimed at in his quest for truth.

At many occasions I wondered how to visually express the suspension of judgment, as a means to take the viewer to ataraxia. This is a question to which I always return. In the Epoché essay, I seek the midpoint between the representational and the abstract, to suspend the viewer's belief in the reality of what is photographically portrayed. To achieve this aim, I lay over the negative transparent elements, to force vision to move away from the elements recognized in the image to spatial arrangements of colors and shapes. In several pictures of the essay, the result is the doubt whether the image portrays something that exists or is the result of assembling the colorful transparent parts. What is left to me is to hope that the spectator, as well as the skeptic, when suspending the judgment on the reality of the content portrayed, finds, as if by chance, the ataraxia in the contemplation of the image.

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