My Live Art performance and Installation are a kind of thought experiment in which I use consumer technologies and Science Fiction to explore and question the reality of perception. My work has covered themes such as consumer culture, science, technology, ecology, sexuality and immigration.Theory
There is a real Peter Pan Syndrome at play in my work and I suppose I would consider myself a carnival sideshow conceptualist, combining a bare-bones formal conceptualism with an eternally adolescent, DIY comic-prank approach. For me ‘fantasy’ and ‘illusion’ are not a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. I have always leaned toward making work participatory or immersive in some way so while my practice is characterized by the mediums of photography, performance and installation, individual works can also be seen as part of a wider interdisciplinary project that incorporates innovative web conversations and social networks. I try to do this with wit and economy and by paraphrasing early Sci-fi and horror films and their associated ideological fictions in order to examine how dataflow from the virtual realm impacts on the significance and symbolism of real-world human senses. But in doing so, I have begun to generate unexpected questions about how art might be able to inscribe itself on the surface of reality.
My work, like science fiction, is a sort of thought experiment. SF has long served as a useful vehicle for "safely" discussing controversial topical issues and often providing thoughtful social commentary on potential unforeseen future issues. Science Ficiton in its purest form takes a scientific priniciple, poses a quest or hypothesis about that priniciple and then explores the effects of that principle on society and culture. But in recent years science and technology have begun to catch up with science fiction. So many of the fantasies and illusions of the past are no longer a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. As well as referencing SF in my work, I use new or existing technologies. For example, within our new world of digital interconnectivity, more and more representation and therefore our understanding of the world takes place on-line. Much of my Live Art performance and Installation work anticipates the on-line reduction of life to a single image. Through my work I explore how the digital image can be considered an event that spills out from its initial structure into an expanded field of activity.
Although I am skilled in many disciplines, and often employ a wide variety of different media in my work, it is digital photography that is at the heart of my practice. People who witness my minimal short duration performance work first hand are asked to interact by taking pictures on what I call a "communal camera". So rather than being some kind of privileged, passive audience, those who witness the event in real time and space become part of the performance and the creative process.
The pictures are then posted on social networking sites for another, wider on-line audience. This is what I refer to as 'Harnessing The Hive' - as the view of the central performance is mediated and recorded through machines (i.e. the camera and then the computer screen). In this way, the photographs, become more than mere documentation and can be seen as central to the work.
This role reversal invites the audience to re-examine easy assumptions, received opinion and current social and critical trends as well as pose tough questions about the ways in which we see and understand our world and culture.