School of Humanities
MA Photography, 2016
My work aims to examine a particular kind of mysticism in our experience of nature and technology. Even using the word mysticism is troublesome, as it comes with so much conceptual baggage, but I want to explore mysticism as ‘function’. For example, forests provide inspirational groundwork for modes of artistic reception – this idea of the dark woods providing a catalyst for memories or a deconstructed sense of self is a classical one, natural landscapes being considered a primal source.
In response to the power nature had over us, we've created a lexicon of symbols that are reflected in folk customs. However, as we have reached the age of the anthropocene, what power can nature hold for us if we have conquered it?
I believe it still does, albeit in a new liminal space. The Cyberpunk fantasies of the '80s have come to fruition, our new mythological landscape has relocated uncannily to technology. Financial markets become alchemical and our experience of nature becomes mediated. The shamanic languages of witch doctors finds a new home in the icon-rich environment of the internet. And so on.
This kind of thinking isn't even new, with ecological scientists of the '60s investigating how nature works within a praxis of machine and system theory.
Although the mystery-erasing networked culture of mass communication has quashed the idea of sublime nature, it hasn't become irrelevant at all. It might no longer have the strength to inspire the grand myths of antiquity, but as mankind evolves to a ‘geological agent’, the visual cultures drawn from our natural world undergo an uncanny metamorphosis, which I hope to interrogate at least.
- BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, 2010
- Special Projects Award, Chelsea Arts Club Trust, 2016