Benefit of the Doubt / 2009
Press release from solo show at Possible Projects

A benefit of the doubt is a tricky thing. It can be exhilaratingly optimistic or dangerously devastating. What we are talking about is really a leap of faith. It is something committed against better judgment, against the grand, cool and ruling Reason. It is something like spending your summer in Utica, NY.

Staying in this forgotten, deteriorating post-industrial relic, it is easy to be tempted by despair. It is easy and even encouraged to drown that despair in heavy clouds of tobacco and steep it in Saranac and Jameson. But even those trapped in the innards of this Rust Belt town, can still give a benefit of the doubt to its hopelessness. Give it a hard long look, stare at the crumbling walls, deteriorating roads, and lush ungovernable overgrowth. They can peer so intensely that seconds become hours and years as if severely stoned for the first time, with everything rendering itself in high definition. All things become precise in every little detail, with insignificant, banal objects gaining mysterious grandiosity through the aid of detachment. The clarity of all logic, ideals and structure instantly disperses through little fissures of disintegrating asphalt in every possible direction leading to this degraded paradise. It is decay counted in billions of seconds.

We often gravitate towards places of high culture and hyper activity, the aesthetic centers of everything, Paris, London, New York, where good food, fashionable people, and intellectual stimulation inject shots of certainty into the collective consciousness. So, what could a fractured, depleted place like Utica possibly offer anyone? Perhaps, it could bring credence to questioning of that sureness.

A one-time rival to cities like Boston and New York City, Utica is now trapped in history like an incarcerated dream with its faded glory tortured by desire for beauty. It is steadily taking a leap of faith which is not a leap at all, but a slow build up of doubts in layers tediously covering and swallowing up the certainty of its own existence.