June 30, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:28 am

Inhale/Exhale (working title)
Body of work in progress, 2018-2019
A series of around 70 multiple exposure black and white 35mm photographs, and a full colour digital video with sound.

These works were made in my living room and back garden, inspired in part by a philosophical text, Through Vegetal Being, by Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder (Columbia University Press, 2016). Some of the ideas in this text felt incredibly vivid and apposite for me: the necessity of breath, which immersion in plant life facilitates, and the capacity for that immersion to dissolve the usual boundaries between interior and exterior. Each ‘Inhale/Exhale’ was made by multiple exposure: a single taken inside, overlaid with a further two taken outside.

The video is at once a document and extension of the process above. Attaching a video camera and mic to my body, I kept them there over the course of a hot midsummer afternoon taking photographs. Along with ambient sound (music on the radio, birdsong, focus and shutter release…) the audio captures my own breath — as I repeat the actions of laying out letters; walking from inside to outside and back; bending, leaning and pausing to compose the shots. Video and audio were separated, and audio overlaid into spliced multiple tracks (or ‘exposures’).

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“It is true that being born requires one to breathe by oneself. Instead of teaching me how to cultivate my breathing, my culture had taught me how to suspend my breath in words, ideas or ideals – something that led me to breathe in an artificial way and left me breathless…” (Irigiray, p.20)

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“After passing the threshold, which in my case, assumed the shape of a ground-level window, we can no longer resort to artificially constructed limits, boundaries or walls, whether conceptual or physical, for delimiting life. On the hither side, a single tree is already an ensemble of multiple growths: divergent and interweaving trunks; the moss or the ivy that covers the branches and a squirrel that climbs them.” (Marder, p.150)

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“Perhaps I could say that the vegetal world had become a mothering place that provided me with the air I needed. However, I was no longer a foetus. I not longer received air with the maternal blood through the umbilical cord and the mediation of placenta. I was already born and had to breathe by myself. It was the vegetal world that ensured mothering care with the environment it arranged around me.” (Irigiray, p.21)

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“Outside, in a back yard or in a garden, a richer sense of one’s body, as much as of one’s thinking, is also achieved in contact with the other, with the elements and the vegetal world.” (Marder, p.152)

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“My sense was that if everything happened more slowly and that in that deceleration, which facilitated a closer attention to plants and to the elements, living became more vibrant. Time and again, time was gained for life.” (Marder, p.160)

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