A great trick of the Enlightenment was to create an association between data collection and a 1:1 production of knowledge. The notion being the more you measure, the more you know. Science claims to objectivity of knowledge; simple empirical facticity. Still the history of science belies this, and one need look no further than Einstein's famous statement that he would rather not believe in ultimate quantum uncertainty, unable to contest the solid mathematics and experimentation these claims were based on. He spent the rest of his life attempting to reconcile a belief in an ultimately rational and predictable unified field theory with a model of quantum mechanics for which he had helped lay the groundwork.
Abigail Reynolds is not taking on the basic tenets of classical physics, she's reinterpreting the data. The camera is a tool of documentation and observation, used to capture the seemingly empirical. Reynolds' show of new works at Ambach and Rice (under the title “Collider”) is an attempt to reintroduce uncertainty, to taint each symbol with the rupture of reproduction. These images reproduce in the sexual sense, cross-pollinating their various depictions with radical instances of spatio-temporal dissonance. Is it day or night, black or white, the future or the present, the same but different? These oppositions are represented visually in the choice of combination, but they also come as three dimension folds projecting and merging different versions of the same reality. Meaning proliferates, it is everywhere and nowhere, looking at it changes the location and velocity. We've returned, rambled our way back to Dr. Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle.
Reynolds is revealing the many shades of meaning, unpacking the information transmitted from common landmarks and symbols, but at times it becomes difficult to understand what exactly is being revealed. Meaning becomes slippery, we lose track of where we are on the map, and suddenly the folds seem to hide rather than reveal anything. This I suppose was Einstein's situation, that tension between wanting to know and wanting to remain ignorant appearing in full force. Here Reynolds dispenses with mystification, even if uncertainty envelops you.
(Images courtesy of the artist and Ambach and Rice)