Eric William Carroll: The States Project: Minnesota
Minnesota has such a rich community of photographers. To say selecting only five to represent Minnesota in the States Project was difficult is a huge understatement. I could have easily selected four times as many photographers with engaging projects to share. There is so much good work happening here! In my process, I chose to connect with people and work that spans a range of subject matter, intentions, and sensibilities and as a group could potentially characterize the range of work being made here. I chose work that was both very familiar to me and also very new to me. I wanted to learn something more about the work and photographers along the way while promoting individuals and work that might be new to Lenscratch audiences.
I had known Eric William Carroll’s work before I knew Eric. I’ve been a big fan of his work for many years. And a detail in his biography stood out to me; he went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA where I grew up. Somehow, this information made me want to meet him even more. Soon after he relocated to Minneapolis a few years ago, we connected over email and met in person. He has been at work on a long-term project, G.U.T. Feeling, for many years and it just keeps getting better. I love the blend of intuition and objectivity in his work while he asks big, serious questions about what we know of the universe through a sometimes playful lens.
Eric William Carroll’s work on photography, science, and nature explores the differences in how we experience, represent, and organize the world. Through his photographs, installations, and performances, Carroll creates visual and emotional connections that span enormous distances in space and time. At the heart of his practice is a sense of humorous curiosity that allows us to contemplate the Universe and the smallest particles on a human scale.
Eric William Carroll received his BA in philosophy from Coe College (1998) and received his MFA from the University of Minnesota in 2006. Carroll’s work has been exhibited widely, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, Aperture Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Pier 24 Photography. Carroll has participated in residencies with the MacDowell Colony, Rayko Photo Center, and the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary, and was the winner of the 2012 Baum Award for Emerging Photographers. Born and raised in the Midwest, Carroll currently teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“In science the future lies ahead, in art the future lies in both directions.”
-Nobel Prize winning physicist Donald Glaser
In my ongoing project, “G.U.T. Feeling,” I visit places and interact with people that study the largest and smallest things known to humans. Science leaves a rich visual culture behind in its wake—unique equipment, places, and systems created solely to test or discover new information. Often this material is generally not read aesthetically but as data. By appropriating the aesthetics of science, I hope to trigger the synapses between art and science, as I believe it benefits both cultural and scientific progress. Making honest artistic and human connections in the scientific communities is a major goal for my work.
My feelings toward science consist of both envy and admiration. I believe some of the most impressive photographs are actually created by machines in the name of science (the Hubble Space Telescope, the Bubble Chamber, and others). However, too often the discussion quickly moves past the image and into obscure scientific theories. I admire the way scientists approach problems and have frequently adopted it, along with the “theater” of science, in my own studio practice. Like a particle detector looking for elementary truths, I take different subjects and smash them together to see what results. “G.U.T. Feeling” explores where science and art overlap, searches for humanity behind scientific institutions, and hopefully—like the most successful enterprises of both science and art—lets aesthetic truth and wonder dissolve into new solutions.
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Ben Moren: The States Project: MinnesotaDecember 12th, 2015
Pao Houa Her: The States Project: MinnesotaDecember 11th, 2015
Ryan Aasen: The States Project: MinnesotaDecember 10th, 2015
Hillary Berg: The States Project: MinnesotaDecember 9th, 2015
Eric William Carroll: The States Project: MinnesotaDecember 8th, 2015