A large scale installation Antarctica – While you were sleeping that was projection mapped 360 degrees around the exterior of Auckland Museum towards the end of last month impressed me hugely. The scale of the 4 year project stunned but it was the sound score by Rhian Sheehan, overlayed with sound effects of the ice that tied it all together for me and made it so immersive with such a sense of connection.
I also resonated with how the artist Joseph Michael has written of a biological connection called Echopsychology. The ecological self – a wide expansive or field-like sense of self which includes all life forms, eco-systems and the planet itself. Can anyone making a work about the environment be authentic in this pursuit if they don’t feel this way?
Recently I have also been realising how much I appreciate the fundamentals of Wabi-Sabi.
From its spiritual values;
Truth comes from the observation of nature
‘Greatness’ exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details
Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness
From the Wabi-Sabi state of mind;
Acceptance of the inevitable
Appreciation of the cosmic order
From its material values;
The suggestion of the natural process
In particular, how Irregularity and Imperfection can imply the ‘spiritual condition’ of imperfection embodied things being able to arouse a sense of empathy. This made me remember the photographic exhibition of gang members by Jono Rotman at Gow Langsford Gallery a few years ago. What I felt most from viewing those finely detailed images was the vulnerability of these people through their very human flaws. The scarred skin, flecked grey hair, stained and worn clothing, the eyes behind the gang member mask conveyed to me their mortal humanness above all.
My mentor commented on my marquettes seeming like pieces of armour, or something like a second skin that is tough yet fragile, the possibility of performance and other sensorial techniques used in craft/jewellery. He also mentioned the work of an Estonia jeweller who used multiple pieces of very fragile plaster shards hanging together on cotton that would crumble if a viewer got too close to the wearer…something to contemplate.
Ben proposed a photographic essay of sorts where I could explore this idea of irregularity and imperfection being able to stimulate the feeling of empathy through photographic gesture.
To me the ability to kindle this quality is important. The devolution of empathy being displayed in humans is something I have contemplated in my jewellery work before.
Tying this together with an environmental project could somehow make it more real, perhaps more felt by people.
I am very happy to accept this photographic challenge.