Spectral Codex is the personal blog of Alexander Synaptic, a web developer and multimedia artist. I follow a relatively minimalist lifestyle, eschewing home ownership, physical possessions, and a fixed location for travel and living abroad while working on a wide variety of creative projects (including this blog). Nowadays I spend most of my time in Taiwan where I am a daily cyclist, perpetual student of local history and culture, and occasional urban explorer.
This blog began as an attempt to break out of the sanitized monotony of mainstream social networks and create something of my own on the web. Now that I’ve been at it a few years I would describe my blog as an experiential journal of synchronicity and connection. What I share here is an expression of my endless curiosity and adventurous spirit, a living record of what I’m learning about the world. Nothing published here is fixed in time and space; these words and images evolve and change over time.
As a creature of new media I am interested in blogging as an end unto itself. I have no professional aspirations in media nor do I intend to monetize my work through advertisements or sponsored posts. This is primarily a creative outlet for me and I intend to keep it that way. If you’re accustomed to for-profit media purpose-built to elicit an immediate reaction I recommend adjusting your expectations; much of what I publish is obscure and subverts the norms of consumer-oriented media. That being said, critical and informed engagement is appreciated.
If you’re new around here I suggest browsing the highlights or sampling any of these articles and photo essays:
- South Taiwan Ride 2015: a complete 20,000 word write-up of a bicycle journey around southern Taiwan.
- Changhua Roundhouse: all about one of Taiwan’s great unsung cultural treasures.
- Crossing the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan: a road trip over the highest mountain pass in the nation—on a small scooter.
- An Overnight Trip to Keelung via Jinguashi and Jiufen: in which I try my hand at capturing a few days travel and discovery in north Taiwan through smartphone photos.
- Hengwen Temple: one of my more in-depth articles about Taiwanese temple culture.
I am endlessly fascinated by the secret lives of inanimate objects, the eerie solemnity of abandoned places, the desolate beauty of manufactured landscapes, and the wonders of remote and otherworldly locales. I am drawn to the visual rhythm of grit, grime, and decay and inspired by the majestic works of nature. I am especially interested in the juxtaposition and intersection of organic and artificial forms, particularly those realms where nature is busily reclaiming manmade structures and objects. Most of all I am intent on exposing the hidden stories and forgotten fables all around us, no matter how inconsequential.
Most of my work is more documentarian than fine art, though I enjoy dabbling in conceptual and abstract domains now and then. In recent years I have become much more direct, methodical, and unpretentious in my approach to photography. In an age of perpetual and ubiquitous image production I derive some amount of satisfaction from paying attention to what is ordinarily beneath notice. But perhaps this overstates how seriously I approach photography. Almost everyone can freeze time and space these days, making me one of countless multitudes. I’m not really a photographer; I’m simply someone who uses technology to record and share my experiences and discoveries.
My blog is highly visual so you’ll find my photography scattered all around—but if you’d like to see some of my better work in more concentrated form check out my postcards from Kowloon, Hanoi, Xiluo, Nanfang’ao, Wenshan District, and Badouzi.
I welcome contact from friends, family, and strangers alike. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to respond.