Our Artist Statement:
Chelsea Lowry & Stephanie Garner
The preservation of our ecosystem is essential to both the longevity of our planet and species. Our current climate is undergoing such enormous change that it has led to the discussion of a new geological age, the Anthropocene. Our presence on the planet has interfered to such an extent that we are now considered a geological determinant. The Anthropocene acknowledges our interference, whether intentional or not, and puts into perspective the irreversible effects we are having on our environment. Determinant materialises the effect of the Anthropocene directly to the audience, rather than being a relayed statistic or report, it visualises the issue in our own lives. The moment the space is entered, the work is altered and time slips away. It offers the audience the opportunity to experience how their interference can have a direct influence on their own future.
Can you make your influence count?
Steph and I began our assessment by joining forces due to our similar interests of the film genres, noir and science fiction, and we ended up finding a genre that combines both – tech noir. We originally thought we wanted to create a work about genre characteristics in film, but after a few weeks of experimental iterations, we found that we weren’t getting the outcome that we wanted, so we decided to shift our focus and think of our genre studies as an influence rather than the focal point of our work. We went back to square one to think of an important future to us that was could explore and we ended up deciding on that of climate change.
When we initially were introduced to the ‘futures’ topic, we researched artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Hayden Fowler, whose works looked at the concept of human life affecting that of our environment. We thought this was a very important aspect of climate change and wanted to explore the concept further. From this point, we started to experiment each week knowing that we still wanted to include a screen element and a material one, but we struggled to find a way to join them cohesively. We ended up focusing on one video rather than several and found it much more effective, we chose to use the image of the melting ice as we thought it was one of the more recognisable signs of climate change. Our next struggle was trying to find a material element that suited the space, as most of our ideas centred around melting ice, they wouldn’t present correctly at the Grad Show. We had also been trying to use a mirror, as the moment an audience member entered the space it was altered, but we couldn’t get it to work properly. We then received feedback suggesting we could use a clock.
Now very confident in our concept, we started to experiment. We created several time lapses of ice melting in different shapes and we found a clock, which unfortunately didn’t work, but thankfully Glenn could fix it. We then had to work out how we would showcase our concept of climate change/human interaction using the clock and our video. This is when we had the idea of the clock ticking faster when an audience member enters the space, we weren’t sure if it was possible, but Glenn said it could be done using an Arduino and a sensor. We also had to illuminate he clock, so we decided to use a red gel which referenced an artwork we used as inspiration by Chris Wainwright and also honed back to our genre study which focused on neon lighting. While Glenn was working on it, he discovered that he could use the AM and FM channels to make sound, which is something we always wanted to include. The FM station plays a white noise/static sound that is caused by interference which ties in perfectly with our overall concept and became the final element of our work.
Overall, we were really happy with our work. The feedback we received from Mat and Jo was mostly positive, the main pieces of advice we received we about what we could do to improve the work for the Grad Show. Their biggest points were:
- The sensor wasn’t strong enough.
- The ice reappearing didn’t really match our message so they suggested we could try a few different alternatives: making the video extend to 20 minutes, play several of our time lapses rather than just the one or having the ice melt and re-freeze in time with the clock ticking backwards and forwards (which we suggested).
- The placement of the clock: they suggested we could move it around the space, or maybe use a coffee table or personalised furniture instead of the plinth.
- They also suggested that we could mark out the space the audience had to stand with a light so they knew where to stand.
We will be working on these ideas over the next week, however, we spoke to Glenn later that afternoon to see what could try and organise. He wasn’t able to help us with a sensor by next week and sadly we couldn’t do the Arduino/Ice/Sensor because we have been allocated a Blu-ray player now not a computer, but even so we wouldn’t be able to do it by next week. We are going to try and experiment with the different videos, however, I really liked the idea of the much slower time lapse. Steph and I are going to meet up to work it all out!