Q&A: Andrew Waits — Aporia

06.05.18

Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Live till you die. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Why people work 9-5. Why the majority of wealth is held by such a small percentage of people. Are you aware of any conspiracies? I think conspiracy theories used to be sort of fun and innocent back when they were peddled by essentrics and the curious. However, in the day and age of the internet and fake news they just seem to be spread by malicious dipshits like Alex Jones. That being said, I’m fairly certain Justin Bieber is a lizard person. What is it that interests you about photography? That it’s so simple, yet so damn difficult. What is the worst thing about city life? It’s impossible to buy property and rent is so high. Persistent segregation. Wealth inequality. Traffic. What part of the planet would you like to explore? I’ve been really wanting to go to the Atacama desert in Chile. Especially during a desert blooms. Also, it’s considered one of the epicenters of astronomy because of its altitude, dry climate, and limited light pollution. I watched a documentary a few years back called, Nostalgia for the Light that I think planted the seed for me. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Ghosts seem pretty plausible. Why not. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? I’m not a huge follower. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Astrophysicist. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I wish I had discovered photography sooner and was a prolific photographer when I was younger. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Book publisher. Waffle cone maker. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. It changes so often I can’t even say. How often do you take other people’s advice? I take advice often but act on it less then often.

Describe a personal hell. Sitting at a table where everyone is chewing with their mouth open. Which living person do you most admire? I feel like a number of men I’ve really admired have recently been outed as completely despicable. And rightfully so. I admire all the people that have called them out. On what occasion do you lie? To avoid unnecessarily hurting someone. What was the last crime you witnessed? People talking and texting during a movie. Airline passengers putting two pieces of luggage in the overhead compartment. What is the best way to educate yourself? Trying and failing. Lots of books, film, and radio. Talking to people I respect. What is the next book you want to read? I want to get my hands on the new Denis Johnson book of short stories, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden. Ultimate camera? An invisible one. Most used camera? Nikon D850. Mamiya 6. Mamiya 645. What object do you want? Imacon scanner. What object do you need? I can get by with what I have for now. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? A series of tubes invented by a man named Al Gore. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? I thought I was until I went to a climbing gym for the first time. Describe a cheap thrill. Splitting lanes of traffic on my motorcycle. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. When Andy Worhol’s Factory was in full swing. Are impulses more important than consequences? As long as the consequences are good. Which talent would you most like to have? Writer/pianist/mathematician. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Laundry, ride the train, meet a friend for lunch in the city, write emails, read, make dinner, watch a documentary about the Dune movie that Alejandro Jodorosky never made back in the 1970’s.

APORIA was created in a specific city, yet speaks to the phenomenon of rapid growth being experienced in many urban locations around the world. When surrounded by such an environment, the cultural and physical landscape feels stretched to its limits. Reality exists in a continuum between construction and destruction. It is a constant state, a fluid abstraction, where change itself seems to be the alpha and omega. A desire to explore the underpinnings of such an environment, and how it demonstrates itself on one’s psyche, is at the core of this work. APORIA is the culmination of this effort, a dreamlike narrative pieced together from the observed landscape. It is a fictional manifestation of my own subjugation, devoid of any specific time or place, both surreal and familiar.

The title, APORIA, is a term extracted from the early dialogues of Socrates. Many were described as “aporetic” because they left the interlocutor in a purgative state of confusion about the concept being discussed. The confounding nature of the urban landscape and the cognitive gymnastics needed to justify or rationalize it leads the viewer in and out of this purgative realm.

APORIA does not presume to answer questions regarding the ills of the urban environment. Rather than attempt to make an explicit point, it presents a fictional narrative in an effort to approach a feeling that something is amiss. There is a limit to what can be observed in an environment so deeply woven with complexity. For the most part, we are disconnected from the underlying mechanisms of the system in which we live. APORIA attempts to highlight this disconnect and struggle for understanding and connection. Perhaps in doing so, it can provide a brief glimpse into what lies underneath the system where the collective psyche of a population finds its covert habitation.

(b.1983) Andrew Waits resides in Oakland, CA. He completed his MFA at the University of Hartford in 2017 and his BA in Political Science / Communication at the University of Washington in 2005. He’s been a guest Lecturer at  SFAI, San Francisco, CA 2018 and at PCNW, Seattle, WA 2017. His most recent work Aporia has been shortlisted for the 2018 MACK First Book Award, the 2018 Kassel Book Dummy Shortlist and is a 2018 LensCulture Exposure Award Finalist. To see more of Andrew Waits work visit — Website / Instagram.