Working with life-size taxidermy forms I build up clay fairytale-like imagery, and repetitive textures that are then moulded and cast into glass forms, many with metal inclusions and flame-worked elements. The flame-worked elements represent bones, decomposition, crystalline structures and fungus growing, consuming the animal forms. Borax and salt crystal growths are also incorporated into/onto the sculptural forms.
The diorama displays a frozen moment, a beautiful landscape somewhere, perhaps in Iceland perhaps in a dream and our inevitable end/decomposition, but here with these beautiful flora and fauna our neglect to care for our shared environment.
Initially in 1995-96 this project took form, however technology was still difficult to impossible to find, code and implement. Since the advent of the Oculus Rift my studies coding in Unity, and further research into AG, and VR have been re-ignitied. In 2011 I have been working towards building augmented reality and music/synthesis into my sculptures. Symbols painted, and screen printed onto the sculptural forms activate when viewed through Apple/Android devices with my Wonderlandish 3.0 app. The concept is based on the idea that- the fundamental act of observing a phenomena changes it. All too often the very act of observation or participation in an event is intrinsically a destructive process that had the power to effectively cause something wondrous to disappear from the planet forever regardless of how benign the intentions of the spectator might be.
As an example please consider the cave paintings recently discovered in France that predate any other known examples by more than 30,000 years. Access to the caves is limited to a handful of academics under very controlled circumstances and even then, after enough data is gathered, the cave will be sealed again forever in the interest of trying to maintain an environment that will preserve these paintings “for all time”.
Just the mere acts of breathing or walking is a step towards accelerated decay that could destroy in less than a decade what had been preserved for many millennia.
Interestingly, many people feel that it is their intrinsic right as part of a world culture to be able to see such things in reality versus reproduction or documentation.
On Facebook, a friend posted a cryptic message that crystallized our sarcasm: “I found a truly wondrous place like no other and returning home, blogged about it. Now, two weeks later and 1,375,659 viewings later, the place is no more, trampled underfoot.
Although Wonderlandish is an art installation which is intrinsically meant to be viewed by many people, I hope to encourage people to nurture a philosophy towards preservation that dictates that while there can be much joy from the experience of sharing one’s experiences with others, especially through social media, that one carefully consider whether the increased visibility and, through extension, experience of the place or thing, will ultimately cause its premature demise.
This project looks to fasciliate dialogue through visual story-telling. How everyone effects and influences their environment, how social media can build activism and advocacy.