Photographic Alphabet: G is for Charles Grogg
By Leah Pfenning
In his series entitled After Ascension and Descent, Charles Grogg explores the meaning of our temporal existence amongst all things. Grogg borrowed the title of his series from Pierre Joris’s book, A Nomad Poetics. The title refers to a rhizomatic approach to the world, a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari suggesting planar and trans-category connectivity over linear, arborescent connections. Grogg believes that in this “wireless” age we are ever more tethered to one another, to all things. And in this inscrutable web of thinginess Grogg seeks to realize multiplicities in search of meaning.
Despite being featured in several galleries and museums worldwide, Grogg does not consider himself a photographer. His work is fueled by an insatiable curiosity, as he claims his interest lies in documenting processes, or the results from a process. Grogg explains that the images he creates result from disturbances, After Ascension and Descent begotten from a disturbance in his inability to cognize or express one’s roots. We’re conditioned, especially in American culture, to be monolingual, to think linearly and in absolutes, a system of thought that allays our ability to apprehend our environment as it is in relation to anything but our present selves.
Instead of preserving passing phenomena, Grogg asserts, “What I want in my images is the Being of an experience.” After Ascension and Descent doesn’t feign to answer any questions about the meaning of our existence. Honoring his desire for his work, Grogg makes of photography and material an image of thought. We are not absolutes; our existence is an ever-evolving tangle of questions and negotiations, for which Grogg offers a sort of mercy from our standpat conditioning.