Mere Image

A Senior Thesis Exhibition

I don’t really know how to explain it all, but I’ll do the best I can with the words I know.


It came to me like a dream. I was standing in the middle of a desert, I could feel their eyes watching me, but there was no one to be seen. No one, except myself. I looked me in the eyes and my eyes stared back. “What do you want from me?” I said. “You will speak when you are spoken to” he replied.


He told me, “I am not who you think you are.”

He told me, “You must lose yourself if you are to find me.”

He told me, “I want you to understand, but first you must forget.”

He told me, “You are a mere image, for I am the one who imagined you.”


I do not understand, I said


“Then let’s start over,” he replied, “Tell me everything.”


And so I told him.


My name is Caleb Jonathan Raney. In the beginning was the Word. One plus one is two. I have spent eight thousand, two hundred and forty nine days on this earth. Juxtaposition is a great word to have in artist statements. I still don’t know what love is. The Universe is an egg. Zarathustra says that heaviness is stepping into the filthy waters of truth. I believe that I have a purpose in this life, I’m just not sure what it is yet. My favorite color is blue, but what does that even mean. Zeno says that motion is impossible. Urinals make for controversial art. I think that I think too much. Pascal says that anyone who does not see the vanity of the world is very vain himself.  Maybe this is too much reality for me to handle. Maybe I’m just a mustache after all.

As I spoke myself into oblivion I could no longer look at myself, so I started drawing in the sand with my foot. Finally, I was silent. I had nothing worth saying. I had nothing worth knowing. I began to weep. I felt myself watching me cry and I could not bear it. But then he spoke


“Be still and forget.

None of what you know is as important as you think you are.

If you really want to see what matters you must look into my eyes.”


And so I lifted my gaze and once again looked into my eyes. There I saw all of history swallowed up into one still point, a single breath of light teetering on the edge of void, and then darkness. The only other thing I can say is that I felt as if I had brushed up against the infinite.


What he showed me next I have no way of telling you, so I will try to show you.


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