Titled after a government complex wedged between the Capitol and the White House, Federal Triangle fuses a documentary approach to photography with the opportunity for alternative interpretations: simultaneously grounded in the real, and suggestive of the darker fantasies that pervade our political landscape.
The project is a series of brief encounters with the trappings of power. Men with earpieces gather on corners next to cars bearing diplomatic plates. Black Suburbans idle in the alleys behind Georgetown mansions. Gardeners receive security inspections before entering walled compounds.
Quotidian but intriguing, and sometimes darkly comical, these glimpses into the workings of our democracy gave rise to a range of questions. If I were prone to paranoid projections, what kinds of encounters might activate my darker conspiratorial fears and fantasies? What scenes and situations would evoke the paradoxical feeling of being close to yet far removed from the levers of power?
Federal Triangle engages these kinds of questions in pictorial terms. The photographs are deeply ambiguous: everyday scenes are tinged with the possibility of violence and conspiracy. Withholding more than they reveal, they invite projections that speak to the fear, doubt, dysfunction, and absurdity of our current moment.
Gnomic Book is an independent fine art imprint founded in 2016 with a focus on developing challenging projects by emerging artists in small, high-quality editions that explore the notion of book as object.
Mike Osborne’s Federal Triangle is launching this weekend at the New York adrt Book fair, MoMA PS1, September 20–22, 2019.