My desk, 2005

The quiet, even lighting and warm tones of this portrait push subject-matter details into the background, drawing attention instead to the vast darkness of a solitary iMac G5 and to the smooth, even clutter in which it is couched. Slight overexposure and an almost imperceptible twist in focus convert CCD noise into a gritty, rainbowed texture evocative of 1970s Eastern European cinema. It’s the opening move in a chess game of flat, terse commentary on the vestiges of runaway nationalism that continue to embitter the global political landscape like the salted earth of a long-forgotten campaign.

The cramped environment and deep red monochromatic hues nod silently to the early days of the Soviet Union, and the voyeuristic perspective hints at the pervasive surveillance of oppressive working conditions in an autocratic, occupied society. As a workstation, it is luxurious and ample, but indicator lights glare coldly like the glowing eyes of unseen threats in a darkened room, suggesting a hidden menace crouching deep within the obscurity of the tools of the disenfranchised working elite.

The LED alarm clock glows late into the evening as the viewer, the assumed worker oppressed, prepares to resume the post on a shift of indefinite hours. The lens is red with anger at the plight of the proletariat. The tools of trade clash on the surface of labor among the stifling trappings of luxury, but the sleeping machine will wake when the time is right, when the lens will one day be red with the blood of revolution.

Also, there’s a cactus you can almost see in the upper left-hand corner. It’s probably thirsty for anarchy.