Shreepad Joglekar | 806 543 1030 | www.aabhaa.com Artist Statement for photographic work Driving past the vacant lots, strip malls, deteriorating community parks, and new gated subdivisions with country club aesthetics, I am puzzled by the sluggish expanse of a generic small town in south Texas whose character is omnipresent across the USA. Witnessing the construction of a new jogging track, tilled up soil of a lot proposed to be a water‐park, or demolition of an old apartment complex, I am intrigued with the severity of human engagement with the land. I believe these spaces, often in flux, archive our attitude toward our surroundings and give form to the abstract, often romantic, idea of human‐ environment relationship. Literature, art, and social sciences often address the role that a ‘sense of belonging to a place’ plays in enriching our social lives. When I moved to the United States for graduate studies, after initial amazement about the freeways and air‐conditioning, I became starkly aware of my inability to relate to my surroundings. This sense of alienation intrigued me. It also made me interested in the history of American vernacular landscape, architectural theory, and the psychological relation we have with built spaces around us – in the words of Gaston Bachelard: the “poetics of space.” The built environments not only occupy space but also embody time. They can be experienced as recessed in the past or projected in future. For example, signs such as ‘moved to,’ ‘coming soon,’ ‘future home of…’ imply spatial, and architectural forms that are in the process of becoming. In my work, I interpret my current landscape as an immigrant transitioning from being an outsider to an insider. In this way photography, for me, is a process of acclimatization, not only of perception but also of all senses that read cultural stimuli. The phenomenology of the manufactured or altered spaces around me is the core subject matter of my work. Photography is essentially a creative intervention in, and also subtle manipulation of, space. My work allows me to critically situate myself in space and subtly aestheticize the relationship between my surrounding and me. I am especially interested in assessing the architecture of public and private spaces. Layers of human imagination can be found embedded in their renovations, or ruins. These spaces also exhibit residues of the communal and personal histories, in the form of an abandoned artifact, an antiquated pattern, or, at times, in the form of a memory of the inhabitant. I often pair the images with an array of metadata about the unseen aspects of the space such as its GPS coordinates, basis for its abandonment, or even the reverie of its projected future. I believe such context bolsters the interpretive value of the images and translates space into a site. The process of photography lets me explore the contemporary culture that harbors affinity for instant gratification through short term (sighted) planning and casual abandonment, and the commendable human quality of tirelessly altering the surroundings, as if in the pursuit of happiness.