My practice concentrates on the shifting relationship between the natural world and the digital world. The palpable progression of technology has found an unsympathetic permanence within our contemporary culture that continues to illuminate our unknown futures and existences. In my work, I focus on the co-existence of the human and of the avatar living simultaneously in the real world as well as in the synthetic one. My work interrogates the pivotal time of digital media that we are currently living in: adults today have lived to and through the breach of this digital transformation and revolution that is not (nor does it seem it will ever be) entirely fulfilled whereas the youth of today will never know the natural world as one untouched by and separate from that of the digitized world.
In my studio art and research, I am working increasingly in digital technologies – video, animation, and photography – as well as with physical technologies such as sculpture. As I continue my explorations of the evolutionary advancement of cyberspace and digitized worlds, I am also consistently inspired and challenged by Romantic aesthetic ideologies and Romantic Period theory and literary texts such as Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). Burke’s and Shelley’s are key texts about art, research-creation, science, psychology, education, nature, land, and the origins/futures of humanity and identity, and I take in my work Burke’s philosophy and Shelley’s ideology as posthuman reference points. And in tandem with these centuries old (yet still uncannily relevant and timely) sources, key contemporary source artists I look to are Canadian multimedia installation artist Kelly Richardson and pioneering video artist Bill Viola whose works respectively engage with the viewer through digital immersion and time. Richardson completely immerses her viewers with grand multi-channel projections in order to enforce the idea of the Anthropocene and potential futures we as humans may encounter, and Viola engages us through notions of time that force his viewers to absorb the work in a slower than usual length of time.
I digitally capture and import in my practice natural bodies, landscapes, and/or objects in order to create works on screen that exhibit multiple dualities between these two worlds (the natural and the digital) and that showcase the complex relationship that their simultaneous existences present. At the same time, I explore what it means to bring these objects outside of the non-physical realm through a more tactile approach (i.e., via sculpture and installation works). This tangible methodology allows me and the progression of my work to move away from the monitor and to analyze my concepts and ideas from an entirely different perspective. A recent body of my pre-MFA work, for an example of my origins in artmaking, We Already Are (2018), merges, manipulates, and creates superurban spaces in which the technologization of our human bodies has become overwhelming. My current body of work at the outset of my MFA, for an example of my living work of the moment, Abandoned; Or, The Postmodern Prometheus (2019), shifts my focus from the cyborg-esque body and the destruction of the natural landscape to a transformative idea that the organic body and natural world will not necessarily die but rather evolve into cyberspace. This body of work speaks to its viewers and asks them to engage and reflect on where they situate themselves within this likely and inescapable transformation.
As my work and research shifts the focus from strictly digital posthuman bodies and the post-utopian landscape, I am now exploring the creation of immersive installations that sew, stitch, and suture together references of both organic and synthetic landscapes that will then welcome the inhabitancy of my uncanny clay sculptures/creatures. I am using video displays/projection and sculptural installation together to create pseudo-environments of my sewing-togethers of these landscapes that will take my viewers through my real, unreal, and surreal Frankenscapes. And just as Shelley over two hundred years before me located the myth of Prometheus as the subtitle to her novel of a creator making and building bodies, like Victor and like Prometheus, I am bringing a message of sentience through the sparks of life that ignite my work and animate the clay I sculpt.