This year’s practice can be summarised as three separate phases: ‘motion in nature’, ‘light and objects’, and ‘the digital world.’ My final piece encapsulates the year; it can be thought of as ‘digital nature.’
The starting point for this year’s practice was the abstract feeling I associate with watching birds fly. I began with a series of animations, made using PowerPoint and iMovie, that evoke this feeling. In the Autumn week 5 exhibition I submitted the performative animation, Celestial Spheres. In week 9, “Wandering Star” combined light and spinning Perspex to create an ethereal, dynamic installation.
An art film series which questions reality followed this, which became my Spring installation called The Hyperreal, which examined surveillance and ‘the digital world.’ Dawn Chorus encapsulates this year’s work and research by conveying a ‘digital nature’; it is a performative installation which presents a ‘dawn chorus’ made of electronic noises.
My ideas have evolved throughout the year in part through experimentation with media. I was originally inspired by watching the motion of flying birds; the way they fly is so graceful and evokes a feeling of freedom for me that is fascinating and difficult to describe, so I expressed it through dynamic animations and installations. The documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus struck me immediately with its creative camera work. I was inspired to record films, and I investigated the effects of different camera angles and scene compositions, leading to the ‘digital world’ phase. One film I recorded included a small mirror in which my face was visible, and I realised that my face was twice removed from reality because I was seeing a digital representation of a reflection of it. This made me think more philosophically. I had studied the work of Jean Baudrillard, who described our world as a “system of simulacra.” I love questioning elements of life we take for granted, including reality, and I wanted to create spaces in which to do that.
Artist research has also fuelled the evolution of my ideas. Studio Drift, Anthony McCall, Poetic Kinetics and Bálint Boloygó have influenced my work with light and nature. Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus inspired my initial experimentation with film. As this project progressed, I researched other film artists including Francis Alÿs and Rachel Rose. Alÿs’ Cuentos Patrióticos is a shrewdly simple expression of time and society, and I found its simplicity inspiring. The Wachowski Brothers’ The Matrix informed my scrutiny of ‘the real,’ and certain scenes from it take place in a blank white space, which has inspired the minimal aesthetic of my digital world installations.
Artist research and experimenting with media were the main drivers behind the progression from ‘motion in nature,’ to ‘light and physical objects,’ to ‘the digital world,’ and finally to ‘digital nature.’