Is self-induced obsession possible and what are the consequences? Could I create a self-induced obsession?
Here’s my try at answering those questions.
More about the project
We’ve all learnt to live with them, or try to do so.
But where do they come from? I know where my last one comes from. I played a video game in which you have to solve puzzle after puzzle, in a similar way. After hours of plays, having finally finished the game, I was amused to find patterns similar to those puzzles in real life. Amused, until I realized it always drew my attention, and that I could not get rid of it, I was obsessed with those patterns.
If a stranger could plant this kind of seed in my mind, what about commercials, media, people, and… Me?
As I needed a subject, I decided to take pictures of road traffic cones as I liked the colors, shape, how they integrate in any environment and yet are invisible to most eyes.
After a few dozen pictures, I felt as my vision enhanced. I was able to notice cones without looking for them. At that point, I was solely taking pictures that were aesthetic to me and my motivations were driven by the photo project.
After reaching about a hundred pictures, I was amused to notice them everywhere: street, photos in an exhibition, newspaper, movies…
At this moment, I noticed that my experience with those media was hijacked by my project.
Noticing a cone in a movie would trigger my brain to think about cones, the project, and my previous and next shot, instantly ignoring what was my focus at that time. My behavior was changing, my priorities were evolving, but I did not get concerned as It did not feel disturbing, yet.
As no days were passing without me taking a picture of a cone, I started to think about my condition: When would I stop? Could I even stop?
Approaching five hundred pictures, I felt I had an obligation to take a picture of every cone I was able to see. This really became a concern when I noticed irrational mood issues: Seeing a cone through the window of a train I was travelling in would make me frustrated, as there was no way I could get a picture of it at that time.
I did not realize myself it was time to stop. I was discussing with a friend about my last trip to Den Haag: On my way to take a train, I ran into a construction area with dozens of cones. I tried to ignore the annoying and itchy feeling I had from ignoring the cones. Half-way down the road to the train station, I turned back…
Quoting my friend “If your decision making changes because of this, it is starting to be a problem.”
I had reached my goal, I was obsessed, and not able to see it.
But this was half the project.
Now to put an end to this project, I need to get rid of this obsession, which is yet to happen…
Here is a selection of photos depicting this 2-year journey.
Could I create a self-induced obsession?