"The Emptiness (Skull, after Warhol)"
- video still (b/w HD, silent, seamless loop)


Lee Henderson

July 3-27, 2014

Thursday, July 3 from 7-late

Images die. But why do we make mortal images, if we also claim to make images for purposes of longevity, memorialization, or immortalization?

Images are not unsettling because they are mortal; they are unsettling because they sit next to the immortal. Ghost stories arise not from a dream of immortality—that we could carry on as individuals upon our release from a substantive body—but that we might, while living, be able to recall what was, in an experientially present way. The ghost story is an appeal to temporal inconsequence; it is a recollection made metaphysical rather than merely mental. Through ghost stories, we beg for the past to revisit us; we beg the ability to re-member and re-call. It therefore follows that the horror associated with the ghost story is so not because it reminds us of our own corporeal mortality but rather because, having brought the past into the present, we cannot help but find it a gross distortion, a flickering half-image of what we had optimistically once thought of as a real, factual history.

Photographic images do this, too, but photographs are better behaved than ghosts. They are less dramatic, less prickly, less evasive; more solid, more present, and therefore more subtly insidious… Our recordings and archives are the zombies that walk among us. And they horrify us. Because, deep down, nobody really wants to live forever.


Having studied art in Canada and Berlin, Henderson furthers his time- and lens-based artistic practice while teaching Media Art, Computer Science, and Photography at the post-secondary level (currently at OCAD University). He continues to show in Canada and abroad–recent and upcoming exhibitions and screenings include Zero Film Festival Los Angeles, The Rooms, The Dunlop Art Gallery, and Trinity Square Video. Through installation, video, performance and photography he negotiates the persistence of collective histories and the brevity of individual lives.