By Brad Feuerhelm, ASX, January 2015
Heroin. Mutilation. Death. Obsession. Addiction. Death from the interior, Death from the oblique servitude of a little boy’s genealogy, his father horrendously mutilated by a man named Dennis Nilsen at 23 Cranley Gardens, London. His only consolation in recollection was that it was his father’s severed and parceled remains that clogged the sewage drain and announced the butchery of Nilsen’s fifteen victims. These victims were killed for sexual need and under the duress of the psychological impairment of a man who created corpses for company in his fetid north London flat.
Fast-forward with innumerable emotion, concessions made, and the boy named Shane passes through life through his own necrotic need for narcotic transubstantiation. Permanent suicide watch of the mother, the threat of juvenile detention, sexual promiscuity, and a deep affinity for heroin abuse are all part of the episode that plays out in the theatre of his self-abuse. To become an absolute pariah of self through the visceral dis-corporation of one’s own body, which is needed to inject over 60,000 intravenous deaths is to claim godhood, and in 60,000 other parts, to subsequently claim self as the harbinger of one’s own death (Godhead incorporate). The son becomes the father in 60,000 subsequent pieces.
“The Void Ratio” is not a photography book, per se. It is an examination of a life compartmentalized by action of will to determine one’s future and one’s demise through one’s past. It encapsulates the premier death drive and its effect surpasses the often-superfluous nature of the pathologically unnecessary photography book. It does not pander. It does not care about whether or not it will be raised to a status of self-congratulatory acclimation. It does not hope to win awards or give two shits about what impact it might have on the cultural psyche of people who think they respond to images. It is also not a journey into painterly aesthetics masquerading as risqué behavioral discourse. It is not a pantomime of transgression. It is transgression itself and it is still living. It is still at war with itself, which is the true mark of humanity.
Urbaniak’s cold and clinical black and white photographs epitomize the transitory tools needed for this endeavor. The images like the “heroin painting” of the special edition become simultaneously a totem and a relic. It speaks of physical memory, and an epitaph to its own creation. All the accouterment’s needed to fulfill a raging destiny are within its pages. If you’re expecting a lesson in metaphor or aesthetics, you will need to read the boy’s words. The images themselves refuse to do this. They are simply objects of required research manifested in objective manner. This is a hugely successful endeavor given the personal nature of the project. The heroin painting is a symbolic relic of the diaristic sainthood of one. It is not for your enjoyment or my secular analysis, yet it exists to remind you or perhaps the boy of each successive measure that bought him into adulthood. In one way, you should fucking pray to continue your one little death over that of 60,001. In it’s totality, it should remind us that we can stick our hand in the fire of life or have it held there unluckily by the sum of its evils, manifest by others.
The Void Ratio
Infinity Land Press.
(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Karolina Urbaniak and Infinity Land Press.)