Sham–Real Shadows

On Navigating the Anthropocene

MAA research thesis document
Final draft, January 2016


I make intimate scale objects that encourage audience interaction through their mobile devices, or small to larger scale works utilizing phenomenological engagement with projections, or mirrors. My research is focused on the Anthropocene, our current human-influenced global geological epoch born of the Industrial Revolution. It is my hope that my passion for the ideas contained in this subject will have some resonance in the work, while the things I make and the experiences they permit can be understood as meditations, and salves for bleak subject matter. The works discussed herein do not lecture toward my personal thinking around the Anthropocene (we get the planet we make), rather they direct themselves toward suggestions of how nature is presented, understood and utilized in a human-dominated world, and what that does to how we understand our relationship vis-à-vis nature. I believe that these are symptom and source for the problems we currently face and will carry with us into the future.

The works discussed in detail are Familiar Strangers, Sham–Real Shadows, and The Relics of the Anthropocene Temple. These works utilize human-made materials sourced from nature such as paper, MDF, light, and plastics, as well as contemporary technology such as lasers (an Anthropocene futuristic form of primitive fire). Frequent research sources, such as naturalist wallpaper, are chosen for their presentation of a commodified and rationalized Nature; a shadow of a shadow used as simulacrum to decorate interiors in a human world. The areas of inquiry focus on two streams with the attempt to answer the question, “are there ways to explore the ideological underpinnings and ramifications of the Anthropocene?” These two primary avenues of exploration are:

Nature–human dichotomies and ways of designing nature, presenting and thus knowing Nature as simulacrum re-presented in repetitive patterns and then used to decorate human space, and
Hyperobjects as Burkeian, and Kantian sublime presented as patterning of indeterminate space as meditations on, and signifiers of bleakness and hope, light and darkness destabilization and interconnectedness, time and the unknown knowing.
These two outcomes are explored in detail with in this document, and have formed the basis of my current practice.

23 intervals

Research info-graphic
61 x 61 centimetres
C-Print on paper