This is a portal to an assailant’s afterlife attained through a pin-pricked peep hole. I had been going armed with my pinhole camera, homemade of a recycled SPAM can, to the site where I was hit two years prior by a man in a Lincoln Town Car. The perpetrator had since died due to poor self-care. Standing where I had been walking that morning, I felt the sun on my skin, estimating its radiance to time minutes of the exposure. It’s an ancient technology, supposedly invented in observing a hole in a bedouin’s tent. It’s akin to our present Zoom zoom. Virtual, ever-present, and exhausting. Looking into a SPAM can taped to a tripod where he would have been zooming at me feels absurd. This absurdity gives me distance to feel safe to be both playful and reflective.
The fact of being recorded by a pinhole with its long exposures, gives me time to feel like I am dialoguing with the hitter, channeling him from the dead, or bringing him out of the trance that he had been in when he hit me over and over again. The long exposure times also allow for me to be silly, angry, determined, scared, angry, and resilient, all in one exposure. The process is liberating rather than capturing. If a traditional camera “freezes” an action in time and space, so too does an “accident” or trauma. Part of me feels like I’m left there in space and time, and when I revisit the space I feel frozen in the face of it, unable to avoid Him and The Car that are ghosts but frozen in full flesh and color in my memory. I want to be un-frozen, and the pinhole helps do that.
While there I imagine he is in that silly box, a piece of flimsy film, a latent image, impressionable to my every move. I imagine the light that bounces off me could hit him and tell him something of my experience of that fateful encounter, that “accident.” There is something in the process, an uncertainty, that is liberating too. It mirrors and confirms my own healing process, I suppose. I have no idea whether he knows, somewhere in the afterlife, that he has hurt me nor that I am determinedly slinking back.