Are you chasing angels or fleeing demons when you visit the mountains?
In this community building experiment, you can only pick one.
ARTIST STATEMENT: THE PROJECT
Influence by definition is the capacity or power of persons or things to produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. In modern society, influence has adopted a tangible meaning beyond it’s original abstract descriptor of word, action or thought; social media has fundamentally changed the way that we impose, receive and measure it. Every like, share or follow from our audience releases a shot of dopamine to our brain, we feel good for a brief moment and then it goes away. This curated cycle is repetitive and very addicting but I would argue that it isn’t real. Eye contact, a handshake, hug or spoken conversation are more authentic and instinctual forms of connecting. As humans we need moments and expressions of intimacy and compassion with others (and ourselves) and without it we suffer as persons and as a society.
Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons was derived some years ago during a conversation over coffee and it has brewed ever since. Before that, I co-founded a mountain guiding outfitter in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The journey that has unfolded has brought me all over the world and in and out of the lives of thousands of outdoor recreationalists from all aspects of life. What I found on this business adventure is not profound or new. Despite all other differentiators, there is one underlying similarity we share; the human experience. And, in the nuanced peaks and valleys of this shared experience we find hidden stories that allow us to relate to others, or not. This is the foundation of Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons. Trying to understand the motivating factors of why we venture into the mountains is a way of exploring the peaks and valleys, to find likeness in the experiences and build a community that promotes authentic connection.
The forthcoming stories are the reflection of relationships that I have formed with people in the outdoor space. Through a series of interviews, subsequent conversations and many campfire brews, I am compiling their stories – as told to me free of judgment. Each one has helped me explore the profound vastness of what it means to be human and although not all of them speak directly to my past or present, they will most definitely sing to my future. By exploring the peaks and valleys of each of these individuals’ lives it is clear that: 1. There are many reasons people go to the mountains and 2. Other people share the same reasons. Each story will reveal different motivations but in short they can be categorized into two lists: Chasing Angels or Fleeing Demons.
At the onset, I was skeptical of the black and white nature of this project – demanding one choice from two options hardly seemed fair when the line between them is blurred and ever changing. I asked myself to choose Angels or Demons and after quick reflection, I could clearly remember times when I was chasing and different times when I was fleeing. Further contemplation lead to another revelation; there were always twinges of chasing in the times of fleeing and vise versa. I realize that as my life has changed over time, my motivations have evolved to accommodate my current circumstance, and that is all right. The point of this exercise isn’t to label or pigeon hole individuals as good or bad, chasing or fleeing but rather to bring awareness to the shared struggles and triumphs and to find likeness and community in a world of constant unknowns.
DELIVERY: DOCUMENTARY JOURNAL
My initial goal is to share the stories and images in a documentary journal (book) that explores the human experience, sets the foundation for a larger community-building platform and celebrates the outdoor community. The possibilities are endless and I am eager to watch this new journey unfold organically. I invite you to join me in this endeavor in a capacity that suits your comfort level. Below you will find opportunities to share your story or to help fund this project with a one-time donation. Regardless, thank you for stopping by!
Step 1: Discovery Questionnaire
These questions are designed to make you think. Please allow enough time to embark on some self-reflection, and provide thoughtful insight about your mountain motivations.
If you find value in this project, please consider a one-time donation of your choosing. On behalf of the outdoor community and myself, thank you!
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