Polymer Culture Factory, Tallin Estonia
Meno Parkas Gallery, Kaunas, Lithuania
Totaldobže Art Centre, Riga, Latvia
Nine channel video Installation using mapping and one projector
“All animals take action to avoid their own death. Humans share this instinct to survive with all animals, yet humans are the only animals to understand the inevitability of death and that we cannot escape it. Human beings can also imagine a world where they are no longer alive.”
– Nigel Spivey
Death is recognised as a universal human experience that effects everyone regardless of race, gender or class. It is a reminder that our time on this planet is only fleeting and is an inevitable event that we cannot escape. Its representation in art also tells alot about the culture and beliefs of the society that the work was made in. Despite a breakdown of traditional religious notions in contemporary western society there still persists a desire to visualise the end. In this piece I am interested in exploring the concept of death as it becomes a way in which I can confront the understanding of my own mortality.
Memento Mori was produced using digital photography as its primary medium, a processes that lends itself easily to the creation of manipulated images. The aspect of death I am exploring in this body of work is an intangible concept, a questioning of what happens at the point of transition, rather than a recording of the physical process of dyeing. I have departed from using photography as a tool with any hold on truth and un-biased representation.
The images are overlayed and collaged together in order to explore death with a photomontage aesthetic. This process uses manipulated photography to create constructed environments, taking elements from Eastern and Western religious traditions, taxidermy, illustrations and photographs of the natural environment to create new meaning from their composition and arrangement around a central portraiture figure. The photomontage aesthetic in my work allows for fragmented representations that reference many religious systems depicting death and the afterlife. I have used this technique to visually combine structured religious beliefs with personal interpretations and experience.
The process of using photography to question the knowledge of my own death and its inevitability has wider relevance to the genre then my own subjective processing. The act of photographing an event or moment in time has the effect of immortalising it, and giving the singular moment more importance then it would have otherwise had. As Roland Barthes wrote in Camera Lucida “death, in a society, must necessarily be somewhere; if it isn’t any longer – or less so – in religions, it must be elsewhere: perhaps in the image which produces Death while wanting to conserve life.” Photography has become a way we remember our deceased ancestors and aspects of the self that have passed away in the transition of life.