Notes on Parallax

Posted by Chris Stiegler on May 18, 2015



Parallax, n. – the effect whereby a thing viewed from two different perspectives is considered in two different ways.


Most people default to one of two ways of dealing with this term. The first involves stars being viewed at different points in the earth’s orbit to yield more information about its shape and activity. The second is the distance between the camera’s lens and it’s viewfinder. Both of these are about perception and perspective.


History and place both function with a sort of parallax as well. Even if we experience the same event, or the same locale, we register different things. We all experience things differently, even when we observe the same thing. This is my interest in seeking the source of Chester Creek. Even though there are similarities in the way in which each community using and thinks of this place, there are going to be differences. These variances have their own intrigue.
I’m here on expedition with a team of artists all charged with the task of coming to understand Chester Creek and its relationship to Anchorage. Specifically, I’m the historian so I’m on the hook to try and reconcile the myriad ways we as a group are interpreting this place, its communities, and contributing to its history.