Sarah Stein





artistic research + process blog

  • The Aleph (Manifest), video stills
  • The Aleph (Manifest) The Aleph (Manifest), digital print, 27" x 40"
  • The Aleph (Manifest) The Aleph (Manifest),installation view
  • The Aleph (Manifest) The Aleph (Manifest), details: chalkboard, chalk, aluminum flashing
  • The Aleph (Manifest) The Aleph (Manifest), sculpture maquette: 7 x 7 x 18", wood, paint, paper, monofilament and plastic gum
  • The Aleph (Manifest) The Aleph (Manifest), sculpture maquette: 6 x 6 x 24", wood, paint, wire, aluminum flashing, magnets

The Aleph (Manifest), 2010

Mixed media installation of drawing, photography, video and sculpture

This project takes inspiration from the short story The Aleph by Jorges Louis Borges:

In that single gigantic instant I saw millions of acts both delightful and awful; not one of them occupied the same point in space, without overlapping or transparency... I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe... I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe.

I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.

The Aleph (Manifest) documents the desire to manifest the wonder of the infinite and abstract in physical form, as well as the obsessive desire to recreate a moment of magical realism in everyday materials. The installation tracks the progression of this task across media, from scribbled drawings and deconstructed models to photographs that nearly grasp the beauty of an impossible floating orb of light and geometric perfection.