Bite! magazine » The Suffocating Space Of Western Masculinity

I Slowly Watched Him Disappear by Jason Hanasik October 13, 2010

Jason Hanasik about his work

I am constantly intrigued and fascinated with the tenuous and sometimes claustrophobic spaces of masculinity, vulnerability, maturation, and loss that so many people choose to suppress and/or ignore. I think of myself as a constructed documentarian. Rather than make an isolated document of a single experience, I am interested in constructing a “frankensteined” amalgamation of multiple experiences while blurring authorship, narratives, and the edges of expectation. I hope for a “collaged body” which is constantly trying to (re)orient itself in the world.


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Artist Testimonial

I started photographing Sharrod, the main protagonist of I Slowly Watched Him Disappear, shortly after having completed the first part of an earlier series called He Opened Up Somewhere Along the Eastern Shore. I wanted to meet and work with someone who completed the same high school NJROTC program as Patrick and Steven, the main subjects of He Opened Up Somewhere Along the Eastern Shore. At first, I thought that I might be creating a prequel to that previous series.

While that is certainly one way of interacting with the project, I now see this work in progress as something more akin to a cycle of projects where the beginning and end are not easily defined.

In the imagined cycle, the main protagonist isn’t a singular person we follow through the course of an extended narrative; rather, “he” represents an idea. The complicated and suffocating space of Western masculinity. Consequently, the protagonist is constantly in flux. That is, “he” is shutting down, opening up, and contorting to the expectations of society and himself at the same time.

I am currently concerned with the following questions in I slowly watched him disappear: How will Sharrod orient himself in the uniform he has been given? What will he do with the version of masculinity he is observing and is being asked to perform? How does fantasy, imagination and play inform the construction of a masculine identity?

Sharrod’s mother said that she no longer recognized her son when he puts on his uniform. At what point will Sharrod no longer recognize himself?


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