In a post-human ecology practice, I have been experimenting and interrogating a post-human practice during the pandemic (Dr. Ferrando & Boilen, 2020). This began as I developed a multi-media diptych, which responded to a nightmare related to mortality trauma. The images from the dream, where I was consciously decaying, inspired the poetry response, which accepts the death coming and was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s confessional poetry (Plath, 2012), while the multi-media piece actively ascends from death.
The short film experiments explore the unconscious loop, relating to the cyborg, using found footage or found images to explore the systematic, cybernetic nature of life and inspired by the repetitive films of Steina Vasulka and Stan Brakhage (see Research Document 1).
Collage is used throughout my practice to generate fragmented work efficiently, but also to image appropriation in parallel to the internet (Post-Internet, 2021); the internet is collage, which we exist and operate within. Appropriating images repetitively to produce all outcomes, scan them and transform them into a screen. How to present them so their differences are notable will be developed.
Face ecology are experiments with the human form and composition, to explore how abstract the human face can become before they become unrecognisable, our brains make sense of abstraction for familiarity (Deitch, 1992-1993). I will develop the use of childish processes further for the rest of this project as I will explore the post-human in relation to childhood, the childhood object and trauma, from a reflective adult perspective.
My multi-media experimentation is my practice. It is fragmented and shape shifting, to reflect our current human condition from the internet’s fragmentated impact on society. All experimentations are relevant in my mosaic practice.
“The Well” (2021)
Poem and illustration
“Into the Jaws of Death” (2021)*
Coated Paper, Fabric Scraps and Acrylic Paint on Canvas,
Canvas: 80cm x 60cm
*Line from “Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854) by Alfred Tennyson
Flash warning for Lincoln Experiment, Productivity and Sound experiment
“Lincoln experiment” (2021)
“refolds and unfolds” (2021)
“Untitled scanned experiments” (2021)
Physical found objects on digital canon scanner
A4: 29.7 cm x 21 cm
Magazine, PVA Glue.
210 x 297 mm
“sound piece” (2021)
Sound piece development:
“Untitled AV Piece (2021)
Video and sound collage
“Face Ecology” (2021)
Series of various face prints, rubbings and make up wipes
Four experiments, duplicated in Photoshop to explore different shapes and variables
My formal inspirations are Victoria Sin’s make-up wipe abstraction (Breathless, 2019), Peter Blake’s maximal collage and colour palette, which portray pop culture and the human form, and Eva Hesse’s elongated, bodily sculptures. They have all contributed to enhancing the presence of my work as I will develop into exploring the bodily presence.
Victoria Sin (Stupart, 2020. Breathless, 2019.), Grace Jones (Nottingham Contemporary, 2020-21) and Lady Gaga (Wilde, 2020) have inspired the focus on identity, which is especially pressing to me as traumatised queer person, as our presentation in this society defines how we are perceived.
The lectures and writing of Donna Haraway formed this practice. Haraway described the cyborg as a “cybernetic organism, hybrid of machine and organism” and I related (Haraway, 1985, 2003-4.). We are socially and mentally machine but physically human, we are cyborg in the pandemic. The cyborg is a prisoner of skin and society. We are symbiotic with the machine (Haraway, 2016, 2017.), it is our tentacular connection to the world, a “new membrane of existence” (Wolf, 2018). Hayles argues there is a limit to this seamless connection, but I argue there is not, the pandemic has proven the future of the post-human. This is not the end of humanity (Hayles, 1999) but we have only learnt to be cyborgs in isolation. Once together, our prejudices hold us back.
I will develop my writing into longer form writing, both for a film and to assist idea development. The work of Nam June Paik and Kitty Finer’s artist talk will inspire a combination of recycling post-human childhood objects and modern technology habits (Finer, 2021. Wolf, 2018.).
WORD COUNT: 512
- Victoria Sin – You have not been given the words to describe how multiple your selves are, Dragon Womxn, 2019, make up on facial wipe. (Breathless, 2019)
- Lady Gaga (Wilde, P. 2020)
- Grace Jones (“Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio“, 2021)
- Peter Blake, The Toy Shop, 1962, Wood, glass, paper, plastic, fabric and other materials
- With Jann Haworth. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Album Cover, 1967, Photographs on hardboard and hand tinted
- Eva Hesse, Contingent, 1969, sculptures, cheesecloth, latex, fibreglass
- Plath, S. (2012), “Sylvia Plath Poems: Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy”. 2nd ed. Faber & Faber Ltd: London.
Deitch, J. (1992-1993), “Post Human”, Catalogue, Multiple Venues, June 1992–October 1993, Uwe Kraus gmbH: Germany.
Haraway, D. (1985), “A Cyborg Manifesto”, Essay; The Socialist Review, UK.
Wilde, P. (2020), “Lady Gaga“, Genealogy of the Posthuman [online], Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20201116123243/https://criticalposthumanism.net/lady-gaga/ [Accessed: 20/03/2021]*
Hayles, K. (1999), “How We Become Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics“, The University of Chicago Press Ltd: London.
Dr. Ferrando & Boilen, J. (2020), “Debashish Banerji, COVID-19, Death, Immortality and the Posthuman”, Posthumans [podcast], Available at: https://open.spotify.com/episode/04tvKJIsva3se3YM9EQLUN?si=EUFjBApQQauu_9Ktpvdfbw [Accessed: 20/03/2021]
“Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival” (2016), Directed by Fabrizio Terranova [documentary], USA: Icarus Films
Haraway, D. (2003-4), “From Cyborgs to Companion Species”, Lecture: UC Berkley, Townsend Centre, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9gis7-Jads&t=527s [Accessed: 20/03/2021]
Haraway, D. (2017), “Donna Haraway – Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene”, Lecture: San Francisco Art Institute, April 25 2017, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrYA7sMQaBQ [Accessed: 20/03/2021]
Wolf, A. (2018), “LIFE AND TECHNOLOGY: THE BINARY OF NAM JUNE PAIK”, Gagosian [Online], Summer 2018 Issue, Available at: https://gagosian.com/quarterly/2018/10/16/life-and-technology-binary-nam-june-paik/ [Accessed: 20/03/2021]
Plath, S. (2012), “Sylvia Plath Poems: Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy”. 2nd ed. Faber & Faber Ltd: London.
- “Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio” (2021) [exhibition], Nottingham Contemporary, 26 Sep 2020 – 18 Apr 2021
- “Post-Internet” (2021) [exhibition], Abingdon Foundation, UAL: Abigdon and Witney College, 20 Jan 2021 – 20 June 2021
- “Breathless” (2019) [exhibition], London Art Now, From 19th Oct 2019, Available at: http://victoriasin.co.uk/index.php/projects/breathless/ [Accessed: 20/03/2021]
- Finer, K (2021), “Kitty Finer” [artist talk], with Birmingham City University [Online], 5th Mar 2021.
- Dr. Stupart, L. (2020), “Bodies and Selves: Intersectionality/Queer”, [lecture], Birmingham School of Art, 16th Nov 2020
*Suggestion from Semester One’s Developing Practice Feedback/Next Steps, From Esther Windor
Further research information: My Practice Padlet