Title: The Entities
Format: Two screen digital video
Credits: Audio: Sarah Callesen, video: Shelley Simpson
Our experience of the world around us is often mediated by technology, contributing to the idea that humans are separate from nature. In The Entities, artists Sarah Callesen and Shelley Simpson use visual and audio relationships between human and non-human, natural and artificial, culture and nature. All recording is subjective, mediated by both humans and technologies used in the process. The Entities considers the role of each player within the communication system, where each offers its own affect.
Simpson has created photographs of forest floor worlds in the temperate bush of Rakiura, Stewart Island – an intense, remote environment mostly devoid of human activity. We generally perceive events that occur at human scale, not too big, not too small. We can extend our perceptual range using technology. Scale shifts, time slows. The images are presented as a two-channel video work scaled up to an immersive size. Subtle animation augments the imagery, bringing attention to the sense of process, of visibility, of observer and of mediation.
In response to the macro imagery, Callesen presents an accompanying sound piece that considers change in sound at a qualitative scale other than loudness. Echo and reverb are tropes often used in film to exaggerate the sound of small things. Natural history documentaries often apply imagined sounds to visual footage, particularly for small fauna such as insects, which are too minute to capture with existing technology. Designed sound in film, television and now virtual environments, continue to fabricate what humans imagine unheard phenomena to sound like. Callesen has used designed planet atmospheres and other constructed sounds sourced from stock libraries, as well as manipulated field recordings taken by both artists.
Shelley Simpson’s images were created with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa and The Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai.
Thematic tags: Landscape, environment/ecology, sound, technology
Sarah Callesen holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts (with distinction) and a Bachelor of Design. Her practice explores a relationship with technology, particularly the mediation of perceptual experience. She works predominantly in the mediums of drawing and sound. Her work has been exhibited as a Merit Award winner in the 2018 Parkin Drawing Prize, as well as a finalist in the 2016, 2015 prize exhibitions. A finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award (2017), and in the Wallace Art Awards winners and finalists travelling exhibition (2015). The artist had a site specific work in the 2018 Auckland Art Fair ‘Projects’ exhibition, the group show ‘I Understand If You Are Busy’ at RM gallery (2018), and group shows at the George Fraser and Projectspace galleries, Elam School of Fine Arts (2017, 2016).
Shelley Simpson’s multi-disciplinary art practice is
concerned with exploring the porous boundaries between the binary concepts of
nature/culture and human/non-human. She works with materials that reference
ecology and materialism, with specific attention given to agency, affect,
labour, transformation, cooperation and symbiosis. Her recent projects explore
extractive mining practices as a vehicle for examining wider issues. She is the
recipient of a Wild Creations grant from CNZ and DOC for 2018 which funded a
project based on 19th century tin mining in Stewart Island. Shelley received an
MFA (First class honours) from Elam in 2016. In September 2017 she attended the
course Posthuman Ethics in the Anthropocene, with Prof. Rosi Braidotti at
Utrecht University, The Netherlands.