Kacper Kowalski’s series ‘Over’ – abstract aerial perspective as a personal response to emotions of emptiness, fear and the sense of inevitable doom, and exploring the relationship between man and nature as a futuristic vision of the end of the world.
Kacper Kowalski – Over
“I am tired of man and his behaviours. When watched for 20 years from an aerial, although amazing, they become predictable. What would happen if mankind vanished? What would be left behind? What would the predicted end of the Human Era look like? What will happen tomorrow, in a year, in a generation, in a thousand years? I know by now that the whole landscape has been processed and marked with human presence. We feel as if we are the hosts and the owners of the entire world. But just one volcano eruption, hurricane or virus is enough to prove that our omnipotence is an illusion. One tiny error can make all we have worked so hard to achieve disappear.”
Dornith Doherty’s project ‘Archiving Eden’ (2008 – ongoing) – the extraordinary visual power of x-rays photographs and collages of seeds and tissue samples stored in crucial world collections as poetic questions about life, time and our future, and the tension between stillness and change.
“I am struck by the power of these tiny plantlets and seeds (many are the size of a grain of sand) to generate life and to endure the time span central to the process of seed banking, which seeks to make these sparks last for two hundred years or more.”
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
The project started in a collaboration with seed banks to document their preservation efforts in the face of climate change and the extinction of natural species – a kind of Noah’s arks of planet’s botanical diversity. There are 1.400 such banks in the world and they range from small private to massive governmental institutions. They serve as a global botanical backup system to assure the opportunity for reintroduction of species in case of a catastrophic event or civil strife affect a key ecosystem somewhere in the world.
“Photographs are a trace of something that was recorded in the past and when you look at them in the present, there is that tension between the past and the present that makes the passage of time an underpinning element of all photography. These collections, these libraries of life preserve the present for the future that is so distant that can’t even be known… The use of the color delft/indigo blue evokes references not only to the process of cryogenic preservation, central to the methodology of saving seeds, but also to the intersection of east and west, trade, cultural exchange, and migration.
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
To learn more about the project and the seed banks, there is an interesting and inspiring talk given by the artist at TED and a book published in 2017 with some of the photographs made by then.
Steve Macleod’s series ‘Li+’ – the epiphany of light: “the relationship with the stabilizing drug Lithium and how it affects my behavior”
Following to a psychiatric treatment with Lithium Carbonate, the artist started for his dark depression, the initial images of the landscape he made reflected the period of confused anxiety. As he started to respond to the medication he realized that though still is the same person, he was perceiving the environment in a different way. The hyper anxiety, fear and frustration were no longer a deep emotional burden and he created a stillness that experiences environmental aura with his own Pictorialist sensibility.
Bill Armstrong’s series ‘Partial Appearances’ – through exploring the magical transformation of layers of colours as a meditation on different sides of the self, identity and spiritual dilemma, and making up images into psychological fictions.
Bill Armstrong – Partial Appearances
“Appearances may or may not be real, and half-truths are often the best one can hope for. Identity, itself, is in question as the shift from the real to the “cyber” leaves the individual in a state of flux… With Partial Appearances I have found a new method of creating imagery that furthers my interest in the contrast and harmony of colors. On the simplest level, the use of layers is an apt metaphor for the increased number of layers that threaten to overwhelm the psyche, adding on more to the existing layers of anxiety, alienation, longing and isolation that can submerge contemporary individuals as they try to navigate a constantly shifting world.”
Jo Whaley’s series ‘The Theater of Insects’ – still lifes as theatrical scenes where butterflies and other insects are put on a fabricated imaginary background, to create visual dialogue about the deterioration and the imperfection following to the quintessential Japanese design aesthetic of wabi-sabi. Inspired by the old dioramas in natural history museums these images through the lie tell the truth of the transient nature of earthly things and the human inability to control the process.
Jo Whaley – The Theater of Insects
“There is a flicker of movement caught by the corner of my eye. I pause long enough from one of those questionably imperative tasks of the day, to ponder a minuscule, seemingly insignificant insect. If one carefully looks at the overlooked, a whole world presents itself. The appearances of insects range from those of menacing aliens to those of creatures of ornamental beauty. Their ingenious structures and designs are unique visual qualities that inspire awe. As an artist I find great aesthetic lessons in their strategies of mimicry, camouflage, and metamorphosis. Delightfully distracted, I am caught in the butterfly net of their visual forms and held absolutely mesmerized with wonder.
Like moths attracted to the light of a flame only to perish in that flight, I wonder if we, too, are tied to self-destruction through a drive toward greater technological heights. Conversely, we may be able to use technology and our creativity to become more integrated with nature. As always, the future is uncertain. Art and science are not so diametrically opposed. The practice of both begins with the intense observation of nature, which in turn sparks the imagination toward action. Just pause long enough to look. There is a flicker of hope fluttering in the collective peripheral vision.”
Abelardo Morell’s project ‘After Monet’ – a contemporary search of Monet’s artistic spirit within the landscape of the places where he lived and painted in France.
Abelardo Morell – After Monet
“The photographs were created during the summers of 2015 and 2016 in Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, Rouen and other regions in the Normandy coast. For this work I used my Tent/Camera. This device that I invented utilizes a periscope-like optical mechanism that brings nearby views directly onto whatever ground is beneath the tent. These photographs are the product of the visual sandwich of the projection and the ground. I love seeing how the changing ground surface alters the views into something half painterly, half photographic.”
Dune Varela’s series ‘Toujours le soleil’ (‘Forever the sun’) – by shooting the prints with a gun experimenting with accidents in a process of losing control upon the result as a creative search of dual meaning about destruction and the fragility of the material.
Dune Varela – Forever the sun
“What interest me most is working on the materiality of the images and conducting somewhat physical experiments on them. I like to explore the idea of re-representation because an image is already a representation and how it is represented a new in an exhibition… I like incorporate accidents in my work. One day I said ‘I’d like to shoot at the image. I’m going to be the Niki de Saint Phalle of photography”.
The project was created as the BMW Residency award won by the artist in 2016 where she was given a ‘carte blanche’ to further her photographic research and experimentation.
“The term Samsara literally means world and ‘aimless wandering about’ with the connotation of and refers to the experience of the world around us and the way we perceive it. In Zen Buddhism the phenomenal world is ephemeral and impermanent therefore a mere illusion.
‘And if time is not real, then the dividing line that seems to lie between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion’
Carrie Mae Weems series ‘Sea Islands’ (1991-1992) – through highlighting the significance of the landscape along the Georgia/Carolina coast in the United States bringing to present the memory of silenced people from the Creole culture once brought there as slaves.
“One midnight at high tide, a ship bringing in a cargo of Ebo (Ibo) men landed at Dunbar Creek on the Island of St. Simons. But the men refused to be sold into slavery; joining hands together they turned back toward the water, chanting, “The water brought us, the water will take us away.” The all drowned, but to this day when the breeze sighs over the marshes and through the trees, you can hear the clank of chains and echo of their chant at Ebo Landing.”
Johan Österholm’s series ‘Peculiar Motions at Dusk’ – “On an autumn day in the mid 1660s the young Isaac Newton found himself observing the orchard through the window of his study at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. As the afternoon descended into dusk and the moon appeared as a pale disc above the trees, he was startled by the sight of an apple dropping to the ground. ”Does the moon also fall?” he asked himself, as he returned to the worktable, and made a mental note for what would later become the Law of Universal Gravitation, the starting points for the Scientific Revolution.”