photo & text by nacrowe
the graphic novel HERE (PANTHEON, 2014) by RICHARD MCGUIRE presents the narrative of a living room. it sis a unique narrative in that it is told visually from a fixed viewpoint over TIME. overlapping panels from varying points in TIME, from the prehistoric and precambrian through the future rising tides brought on by CLIMATE CHANGE to a future technologically advanced society.
what is created is an experiential PALIMPSEST. a PALIMPSEST is a painting in which an artist creates on top of an existing object or previous incarnation of the painting itself. what results are layers of meaning and interesting juxtapositions that require the viewer to make sense of these new connections. in HERE, MCGUIRE is essentially playing with concepts of IDENTITY and MEMORY as told through TIME. dinosaurs, sharks, native americans, modern families and the like have all LIVED, FOUGHT, LOVED, DIED and experienced full lives in this PHYSICAL SPACE.
what shines through in this graphic novel is the concept of IMPERMANENCE and how our MORTALITY repeatedly inculcates in us a sense of stewardship over our surroundings. or at least it should. in BUDDHISM there is a mindset that everything and anything is in a constant state of TRANSFORMATION, of BECOMING. as humans we are only temporarily utilizing the molecules and atoms that make up our physical being and long after we pass on, much like the stars that created this matter, there will be further physical objects and manifestations utilizing said atoms ad infinitum. its a humbling concept and put the blip that is your lifespan and lived experience in proper PERSPECTIVE, against what your mind and body tell you otherwise.
it also makes you consider the true implications of your individual CHOICES and how such will impact future generations. HERE is a deeply affecting graphic novel that has a MINIMALIST AESTHETIC with a deep impact. it effectively translates how our collective experiences over TIME unite us all and bind us. i found this book to be a deep meditation on the physical world and our place within it. HERE is definitely worth seeking out.