In a recent conversation with ICI Associates, I was asked whether there was any content in my work. In the context it was a fair question, as at the time I was discussing my practice and working methodologies in general rather than specific works. But it is a question I get a lot, perhaps partly because I don’t subscribe to the easy separation of process, form and content.
For me, the engagement with the apparatus is as much part of the content of the work as the images it mediates. I don’t think of works as messages in a bottle, a series of discrete statements directed at a receiver, nor as transparent windows on the world, like Roland Barthes’ mythical “message without a code”. Rather, I consider my practice as a sustained conceptual engagement with materials and technologies, and an exploration of the experiences that they mediate/generate. And I see this as a dynamic engagement that (hopefully) also enables a dynamic engagement for viewers.
My work often involves working against some well-established thinking about the media and technologies I engage with. These include the ‘transparent medium’ of photography, the ‘suspension of disbelief’ of narrative cinema, and the ‘immateriality’ of the digital. While this often involves foregrounding a physical/perceptual engagement with technologies and the spectacles they produce, it also means that transparency, invisibility, illusion and immateriality become critical aspects of my practice; in process, form and content.
Images from Photo Plastics, presenting the clear plastic packaging accumulated in the normal course of my practice. In this case, over the period of the residency so far.