Paisley Park

Above: A photo taken by a law enforcement officer during a visit to Paisley Park Mansion on 21 April 2016. Credit: Carver County Sheriff's Office.

Signifying Prince

Photos made by scenes-of-crime photographers at Paisley Park, Chanhassen, Minnesota, on 21 April, 2016, the day that Prince was found dead were released this week by Carver County Sheriff's Office. It is very tempting to "read" the objects in some of the photos as a series of clues or symbols about Prince's life.

In one photo that can be unpacked or cracked open (above) each of the items present in the unarranged melange stands as a signifier about Prince's life: a Bible--his Christian faith; a dictionary--useful when composing lyrics and evidence of his interest in words and word-play; US dollars--cash is useful for purchasing illegal substances and services; portrait drawing of a woman with a third eye--an interest in mysticism and esotericism; self-portrait drawing--the crucial role of the image in pop success; CDs and audio tapes--the forgotten and now-antiquated age in which Prince emerged as a star (circa. 1988); floppy disks and USB drive--the digital revolution that took place through Prince's career and due to which he made many bold decisions about how to make his recorded work available to the public; candle--Prince's fascination with mood-and-atmosphere; twisted cables--Prince's apparently tortuous mental state ... (The interpretation process has only just begun really.)

(5 May 2018, revised 7 February 2019)