Art as Transformer
What are the relationships between the photographic image, painting and mediation?
This extended essay explores participatory relationships relating to the photographic, painting and our mediation with these images. Since the year 2000 to 2017, the exponential growth in mobile devices has enabled a greater connectivity to the Inter-web, enabling the uploading of individual daily experiences, via social networks, instantaneously sharing digitised images with families, friends and strangers around the world.
Although some research explores the impact of social networks on the psychology of users, contributions have generally been beneficial and positive, particularly with social activist movements leading to greater democracy. However, as with all new technologies, we must be cautious about how our psychology is affected and the possible detrimental effects these platforms might have on our identity and social interactions, as well as controlling types of information.
We must be vigilant and cautious due to photographic images becoming easier to
manipulate. Editorially manipulated collages that form corporationist ideologies that could seek to control ways we interpret our view of the world. One can become easily enraptured with these new forms of photo-paintings pervading the virtual world, especially during this so-called fake news era.
It is also concerning how information can be directed via algorithms, creating individualised feedback loops of implantable desires and appetites, reducing access to new information vital for a balanced mind, society and democracy.
[The 80 page book Art as Transformer will be released as a published paperback book and as a Kindle download from Amazon this month circa 26th May 2017]
Inland is a contemporary art festival, which will animate the town of Redruth from 25th-28th September 2014, bringing diverse communities together. Inland’s ambitious free programme showcases internationally acclaimed and emerging regional art. Delivering screenings, performances, interactive installations in unexpected locations and events from family workshops to talks for practitioners. All festival venues will be open 10.00 – 17.00 from 25 – 28th September.
I will be showing some work from my travels in Cyprus and Spain and will be available to meet and greet for conversation about my experiences and work at the Private View on the 26th Sept at the CMR gallery from 18:30 and I will also be available on Saturday from 10am onwards as invigilator. So please come along for some drinks and to meet the members on Friday evening from 18:30 – 22:30 or Saturday.
The work I will be showing will comprise of these below, although which ones to be picked will be down to Claire English, our curator of the show (although the others will be there to be seen also, so please do not hesitate to ask me if you are interested in viewing). These works represent a small selection of the ideas I have been exploring through the year and are a significant change from what I had previously been producing before leaving for Cyprus. Spending time in another country, meeting other artists and exploring the landscape have opened new paths of discovery for my practice.
Next month I will be moving to a new studio space and will be working on a new range of prints exploring the research I have collated. More on this soon.
‘Petrus is a Latin name derived from the Greek meaning “rock”, and is the common English prefix “petro-” used to describe rock-based substances, like petros-oleum or “rock oil”. As the source of Peter, it is a common name for people from antiquity through the medieval era.’
During my travel experiences I had been seeking new forms of making work that relate to ideas on pilgrimage. Since arriving back in the U.K. I have developed a number of ideas, evolving into something completely different from my usual practice. During last week I returned to Falmouth to visit some friends, having a chance to explore Cornwall again after being away for nearly two years, and whilst there I thought about a lot of what I have been thinking and writing about in my journal.
Through this process of reflection, making small drawings based on my GPS recorded journeys, these have led me to two areas, opening other forms of seeing the world, leading to new forms of expression.
1) The drawings based on data gathered from a G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) application called My Tracks has led me to drawings based on sculptural ideas, previously seen in my post called The Pilgrim.
2) These drawings reminded me of the Ebola virus and viruses in general, in-turn making me think about the collection of samples, taken during my journey, collecting at each mile walked, extracting microbes to create representations of each mile walked as an idea for an installation of the journey taken via these forms of life.
Through researching on-line about soil microbiology and the composition and structure of soil, I read Petri was based on the Latin word Petrus, meaning ‘rock’. There appears to be a thread developing from the work; and as previously mentioned in the previous post on Zen, there seems to be an underlying conversation happening between my sub-conscious and conscious mind, building a bigger picture to my line of inquiry and influencing the means of production into forms of installation art, applying Zen Art practices in my work.
These drawings have evolved from my original explorations into the mythology of Prometheus, coming through the poem of the same name by Franz Kafka, birthed through living and working in Cyprus. Through Kafka’s poem I was drawn to the second aspect, where Prometheus was hurting from the pain of the constant gouging from the eagle, one of many symbols for Zeus [which makes one think about the many uses of this bird motif on crests and flags], upon his liver, seeking refuge through pushing ever deeper into the rocks he was chained to, until he became rock itself.
According to the first, he was clamped to a rock in the Caucasus for betraying the secrets of the gods to men, and the gods sent eagles to feed on his liver, which was perpetually renewed. According to the second, Prometheus, goaded by the pain of the tearing beaks, pressed himself deeper and deeper into the rock until he became one with it.
According to the third, his treachery was forgotten in the course of thousands of years, forgotten by the gods, the eagles, forgotten by himself.
According to the fourth, everyone grew weary of the meaningless affair. The gods grew weary, the eagles grew weary, the wound closed wearily.
There remains the inexplicable mass of rock. The legend tried to explain the inexplicable. As it came out of a substratum of truth it had in turn to end in the inexplicable.
These tales inform us of the price the Titan pays for going against Zeus, giving and again stealing fire to endow the human species its power, leading to the trick of Zeus, sending Pandora with a jar, knowing their curiosity would lead to the unleashing of the woes. But it was too late, the knowledge of fire was unleashed upon the world and humans utilised to cook meat and other foods, roasting, boiling, frying – but also the power to cook material, changing the composition of the molecules and most probably unleashing the power of the sword from the stone – accidentally releasing the metal from the ore (most probably via building a fire over rocks which through the heat changed the composition of the rocks and being noticed by a curious person, realising it could be shaped and formed into new forms & technologies, giving the human species a step up the evolutionary ladder through the mind, science and technology.
The mythology of Prometheus and Zeus, as well as all those tales from the ancient world are, for me, precursors to the Biblical gods and prophets, who re-tell the lost or hidden knowledge of ancient science and cosmology (see Hamlet’s Mill – recommended reading). These tales told through the ages bring with them scientific observations, maintained for the future generations through myths and legends, tales told from one generation to another, ensuring the survival of the tribe – through the lineage of words, there appears to exist an-other history within history.
Walking trails in Cyprus, exploring regions of the ancient world, reading and exploring ancient sites, rites and the various cults of those who walked before me, from Aphrodite to Aphroditus, led to the development of collecting and painting rocks from these excursions, collecting since a young boy. The evolution of geology and our exploration into the history of the world, the knowledge gained from observation, mining the land for those precious resources to utilise and make, trade and use. The stratification of rock layers, the great history book of the Earth spanning 4.5 billion years – culminate into observed paintings, abstracted through the mind’s view, and its interpretation of what it sees – presenting to the observer of reality the Prometheus that lies within. A search into the fabric of reality that our life has transformed out of and one day, like Prometheus the maker of the clay species whom Athena blew life, will return, dissolving into the elemental, transforming into new energy forms and new existences. A complete cycle of energetic life ad infinitum.
This mix of Art and Science makes one aware of links through research. Collating and highlighting these occult layers of reality and the range of various life-forms around us, something we so easily take for granted, not normally shown in a landscape drawing or painting – yet without these, those scenes painted by so many great artists throughout the years, would not exist. These thoughts open other ways of seeing the landscape and the reportage of reality, not normally considered in general – contributing to the make-up of our interpretation of reality and the soil microbes which are so important to our survival, consuming the carbon in ‘material’ and the de-composition of life matter (entropy) and its re-integration to the cycle of life.
These ideas explore various threads: Observing the environment and our mark on the landscape; Transformation of material existence into elemental existence; Our contribution to changing the environment through our intervention; Responsibility as sentient beings aware of our and other life on Earth, and the symbiotic contribution and effect we all have in reality; A realisation that the true inheritors/ governors of life on Earth are the microbes and bacteria life-forms that exist within us and outside us, transforming material existence everyday, feeding and sustaining life on Earth, in all its forms. Herein the Petri dish has given the ability to delve deeper into the mysteries of life and transform our understanding of the world and the pilgrimages we make through this universe of occult knowledge, enlightening us through the art of the human species and our greatest mystery, consciousness.