Peter Happel Christian - Photographer and Faculty at Saint Cloud State University  
About News Curriculum Vitae Curriculum Vitae

Brief Notes on Existence

Arizona State Fair

Moving Truck

Notre Dame

St. Peters

Air Space Museum

Anonymous Dust

Bally Total Fitness

Dallas Fort Worth Airport

Duomo Ceiling

Museum of Fine Arts Boston


Pima County Dept of Environmental Quality



Back Page

Dust Samples

Lab Coat

Arizona State Fair - Collection

Moving Truck - Collection

Notre Dame - Collection

St. Peters - Collection

Center for Creative Photography - Collection

National Weather Service - Collection

Air and Space Museum - Collection

Anonymous Dust - Collection

Bally Total Fitness

Dallas Fort Worth - Collection

Duomo Ceiling - Collection

Museum of Fine Arts Boston - Collection

Pantheon - Collection

Pima County Dept of Environmental Quality - Collection

Tierra Arch Services - Collection

Pima County Superior Courthouse - Collection

Brief Notes on Existence - Micro Installation

Brief Notes on Existence


Brief Notes on Existence is a photography-based book arts project that involved the sweeping, gathering and record-keeping of dust bunnies from public and private environments. Under the guise of "Second Sight Art Services," a fictitious company I created, I obtained permission to sweep the floors of carefully selected spaces. Typically, I asked for permission to sweep a chosen site or if I found myself in a place that seemed to be an interesting opportunity for gathering dust, I then subversively gathered dust on the spot and documented the site itself. From each bag of dust I obtained I manipulated the dust bunny into different shapes and made a series of photograms using cyanotype paper. As each dust bunny assumed this pictorial form, it took on the appearance of a cloud in a deep blue sky and subtly formed a connection between a remainder of human existence and the ephemeral behavior of the weather overhead. Each series of "clouds" was then placed into a unique, handmade book made specifically for that place. I documented the dust bunnies and created the books to house the images to create a sense that the gathering of the dust had been done "properly" and "officially." There are twenty-eight volumes and over 170 "cloud" images in the collection. Please visit and click on the "dust" link for additional information about this project.



I gathered dust from a large and varied group of locations in a romantic attempt to make a record of life – of human existence – that could also suggest that the most mundane of things in the world are inextricably linked to some of the most unpredictable, phenomenal things of the world. A dust bunny is a material trace of time, much like a photograph, and I enjoy examining the similarities and differences of dust from different locales (imagining what bits of history might be in each) as well as exploring its possible connection with real clouds. Clouds in the sky are created, in part, by dust from an amalgam of places and contain an impressive cross-section of human and geographic evidence. I am intrigued by the possibility that there are actually traces of human life in a cumulus cloud and that humans might directly contribute to the shapes of clouds, precipitation and wind patterns.




Volumes and Origins

A comprehensive list of the origins of the dust bunnies used in Brief Notes on Existence.
Vol. 1: My home, Tucson, AZ (I have since moved from this residence)
Vol. 2: A friend’s home, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 3: Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 4: Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 5: Tierra Archaeological Services, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 6: My childhood home, Cedar Rapids, IA
Vol. 7: My (former) home, Tucson, AZ (Part 2)
Vol. 8: Mission San Xavier del Bac, Southern Arizona
Vol. 9: Bally Total Fitness, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 10: Pima County Superior Courthouse, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 11: Arizona State Fair, Phoenix, AZ
Vol. 12: Judy’s Music Stop, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 13: My brother-in-law’s home on his 30th birthday, Minneapolis, MN
Volume not yet created: A friend’s home, Oxford, IA
Vol. 14: A Wild Oats Natural Foods Market, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 15: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Texas




Vol. 16: Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 17: US/Mexico International Border, Nogales, AZ
Vol. 18: National Weather Service – Southern Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 19: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Vol. 20: Along a curb near the corner of Speedway Blvd. And Treat St., Tucson, AZ
Vol. 21: The Field Museum, Chicago, IL
Vol. 22: Various tourist shops along the South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Vol. 23: Notre Dame, Paris, France
Volume not yet created: St. Sulpice, Paris, France
Volume not yet created: Palace of Versailles, France
Vol. 24: The Duomo, Florence, Italy
Vol. 25: The Pantheon, Rome Italy
Volume not yet created: San Giovanni, Rome, Italy
Vol. 26: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
Vol. 27: Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, Tucson, AZ
Vol. 28: A UHaul moving truck, Tucson, AZ to Youngstown, OH
Volume not yet created: Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR
Volume not yet created: A friend’s belly button lint (an ongoing collection), St. Louis, MO