Week 1: Independent Reflection
As my practice currently stands, I am working as a fine art photographer basing my practice around the idea of the image being a tool to inform. The current subject I am working on is the use of pesticides in the agricultural destruction of a bee’s natural environment or its primitive behaviour. I am looking at the ways the bees flora and fauna need each other and rely on pollination systems that are far more extensive and developed than our own knowledge of them. I am looking into how our own self-indulgence and egocentrism is having a detrimental affect on not only the numbers of bee species, but also the natural flight patterns and characteristics of the bees themselves. I am currently being heavily influenced by the idea of what is left behind if we allow these species to die out. Which has led me to use the creative medium of the photogram, an imprint in which I have total control (further reinstating the idea of our egocentric nature as a species).
I am looking at teaching from the Daoist philosopher, Zhuangzi in which he states “[A] doubt about the reality of sense is easily raised, since there may even be a doubt whether we are awake or in a dream. And as our time is equally divided between sleeping and waking, in either sphere of existence the soul contends that the thoughts which are present to our minds at the time are true; and during one half of our lives we affirm the truth of the one, and, during the other half, of the other; and are equally confident of both.” I am looking at his idea of the human mind being so capable of making itself believe or not believe in something are we ever truly capable of having a thought that isn’t tainted by our view on a subject. I am looking at how we live in a constant state of fluidity; our minds are adapted by conditioning. Things we see, or choose not to see reflect on our judgment of new situations we come into contact with. The images are taking a visual form of this way of thinking; they are being influenced by the dream like state we unwillingly live in. When we view an image we see the aesthetics and judge for ourselves with our own prejudice whether it’s something to think about further. So does the image ever really come into a totally objective light? By looking further into the idea of our minds subjective nature. I was further captured by the idea of a “dream state” and when something is viewed in a dream like state do we take responsibility for what we do with that information?
We have all had a dream in which we do something very uncharacteristic of our nature should we feel a moral responsibility for what we have done? In my images I have looked at this very question. When viewing the images showing the destruction of a species that is sustaining a lifestyle we have come accustomed to, in a dreamlike haze (created by mixing the pesticides in with developers) are the images viewed as a document showing the disassembly of an ecosystem that we should all take a moral responsibility for, or are they just a reflection of how people are viewing the situation enjoying the aesthetic nature of the image without exploring the ideas behind it (the meaning is lost in the haze) being unaware our own minds are hiding knowledge or affirmation of the subject. We remove the cause and the images are simply viewed as a piece of art.
Augustine teaches us that “The peculiar, vivid nature of dreaming may cause us to fret over our moral responsibilities, but there are several reasons why we should reject them. For starters, dreams are not — despite aforementioned ponderings — real. At least not in the sense that you actually did something wrong. For an action to be bound to moral accounting, they must be volitional. In dreams, free will is reduced to near nothingness.” Exploring my subject with this in mind and how we remove the free will of the animals we are harming, I feel I can create images that are reflections of peoples ability to perceive there own reality from there own moral teachings. Looking at the visual representation of the destruction that is being caused but in a way that plays with the idiosyncratic behavior of an individual.