Roma Anderson

Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours, 2018

Artist as Mangrove is an organic assemblage, moving rhizomically between ideas and analysis; drawing from key readings undertaken throughout this year, and embodied responses to these readings, written in conjunction with the artist and the Mangrove as subject.

The different sections of this essay are seeds to be sown, fostered and grown; shoots, leaves, branches and roots. They form a fungal cross-pollinated network, spores from one space and time to the next. They can be read separately or together, ordered or freely; representing  a duality of writing and practice, reflecting both the physical and spectral subject of artist and mangrove. They move the reader between different states of experience and understanding, an interplay between idea and response, thinking and being.

Mangrove is She, or Her, an entity in her own right. I want to force the reader to engage with other subjectivities as equals, and disrupting the euro-centric and colonial objectification of nature.

“A feminine textual body is recognized by the fact that it is always endless, without ending… There’s no clo­sure, it doesn’t stop.” – Hélène Cixous[1]

I reject the idea of a complete writing or work, following Lyn Hejinian’s The Rejection of Closure, “Conjunction of form with radical openness may be what can offer a version of the “paradise” for which writ­ing often yearns—a flowering focus on a distinct infinity.”[2]My practice is fluid, ideas are started and left, changed, only to begin another. I regard the individual as part of a larger whole. She, as body of land and water is not finite, and can never be closed. So too, my cartography of Her is never complete. This text is a facet, one root in a larger system of what is discovered, and what has yet to be.


[1]Hejinian, Lyn. “The Rejection of Closure by Lyn Hejinian.” Poetry Foundation. October 13, 2009.
[2]Hejinian, Lyn. “The Rejection of Closure by Lyn Hejinian.” Poetry Foundation. October 13, 2009.


Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality, Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl

Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality[1]by Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl explores the political, cultural and geographical hybridity of the estuary as a space and entity, and its ability to address more complex and contemporary operations of authentic, active subjectivities and being.

The writers describe the mangrove as a space of dualisms, a displacing place; subject simultaneously existing with, and in, ground. An otherworldly space of assemblages, and an intimidating maze of roots and systems. Entrapping and isolating, altering comprehension and removing reference, a gateway to an unearthly earth.  Subjectivities and agencies, and the hybrid and alternative spaces these entities reside in, have become central to my practice.  These theories articulate instincts I have followed in my experiences with the mangrove and the creation of my own work; and have provided me with strategies to critically and intuitively engage with the Tāmaki estuary’s hybrid environments and histories, consciously and responsibly.

Figure 1:
Mangrove vegetation in north-west Bali, 1920-1927, Photographer unknown. Image courtesy of Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam.

E-flux Magazine

The mangrove exists liminally between oppositions, in states and spaces of “hybrid conditions of belonging”[2]which allow it to stand as a spectral and spiritual subject beyond human understanding. It is important to examine the mangrove through the “biopolitics of selfhood”[3],and its inherently intersectional nature. It is polymorphous in its ability to equally build and remove land, harbouring and producing new life. This spatial and subjective hybridity is captured in the 1922 photograph of Bali’s mangroves, “a relic “between” colonial fantasy and social documentary.”[4]The figure stands looking back at the camera amongst the trees and protruding roots of the mangrove by the water’s edge, his figure reflected in a subversion of figure and landscape, “an inverted self[5].This too reflects the mangroves nature, the upside-down-ness of the root systems and the ”sensing ground[6]that lies above, a physical and spectral duality of nature.

The mangrove’s constant flux means it has not been successfully colonised or settled in a European framework of living, traces of humanity not surviving the changing lands and tides. It is neither fresh nor saltwater, neither land nor sea, neither dark nor light. It is an unnerving and confusing space in which marking claims becomes impossible. The mangrove actively denies colonisation, providing an alternative frame of reference from which to assess Euro-centric colonial politics of land, aesthetics and agency.

The activism of the mangrove is present in its construction and impassable nature, some travelling without ever stepping foot on the ground. The mangrove subverts these dynamics of colonial power and territory by displacing those who enter. It is an Otherspace, thriving in the space between oppositions and “imbued” with extra-natural power[7]. The mangrove’s roots grow upwards, visible and vulnerable, satellites in the upper world. The mangrove does not burrow downward to claim an “authentic history[8]. It is an unsettled self, between subject and place. Its stilted roots are anchored to the ground, but simultaneously grow upwards to absorb light, receptive and interacting with the “surround”[9].The mangrove disrupts the dominant narrative of heritage as root moving downwards. Instead, it operates rhizomically, spawning through the air and travelling, creating an alternative, lighter, space of being and growing.

The hybridity of the mangrove is present ontologically, possessing names from social, cultural and cartographic interactions. It is known as mangi mangi  or api api[10]for the fireflies that favourite the genus Avecennia. Amitav Ghosh in The Hungry Tide(2005) explains another name, the ebb tide, bhati; its lands known as bhati desh[11], the tide country. ‘It is only in falling that the water gives birth to a forest. To look upon this partition, midwived by the moon, is to know why the name “tide “country” is not just right but necessary.”[12]This too is paradoxical, a strong fortification against strong waves, but so porous that the borders tremble, the coastlines ‘indistinguishable as a single entity’[13], a ‘choreography of re-crossings’[14].

The inauthenticity projected onto the mangrove allows it to define its own selfhood. These limitations form the cultural entity itself, the mangrove’s self-exposure conscious, defiant in its growth despite its problematization of colonial living. This growth reaches out, an active and aware porousness that redefines history, passing of knowledge and culture, and sense of self; a lighter mode of identity that allows itself to breathe.


[1]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging, Extra-Territoriality.” Journal #45 E-flux. May 2013

[2]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[3]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[4]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[5]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[6]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[7]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[8]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[9]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[10]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[11]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[12]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[13]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”

[14]Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl. “Sensing Grounds.”


Nursery and graveyard.

Baptism, funeral.

Mother, daughter, sister, grandmother.

Tide, country.

Other.

Hybrid.

Entity.

If.

I am passer-by, spiritually and physically within and on her,
as she allows.

My soul reflected within her, undulating light, intangible. A
sparkle emerging and receding.

I am not bound by expectations,  entirely present.

I am mangrove.

Territory to be crossed, marked, conquered. Flesh to be
eaten, stung, scarred. Skin to be burnt, frozen, grazed.

Soul to be lost, drowned, forgotten. Found, reborn, nurtured.

I am permanent. Past. Timeless, immortal, vital, agent.

I am impermanent. Future. Vulnerable, imprisoned, poisoned, dying.


Figure 2:
From the series Phenomena, Roma Anderson, 120mm Agfa Clack photograph, Panmure Basin, Tāmaki Estuary (2018)


From the Blue Planet to Google Earth, Ursula K. Heise

From the Blue Planet to Google Earth[1], by Ursula K. Heise, explores Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, Vaster Than Empires and More Slow, which proposes a planet with a sentient ecology that has never known anything but itself, existing as an isolated, complex ecosystem without mankind’s influence. The implications of this global, unified positioning of human-nature relationships on our understanding of subject and identity is addressed within the context of environmental theories such as the Gaia Hypothesis and Global Earth.

In Le Guin’s short story, a team of socially isolated
scientific explorers elect to embark on a mission to explore World 4470, a planet that is revealed to
consist only of a complex plant-based ecosystem that encompasses the entire
planet. One of the scientists, Osden, possesses a “wide-range bioempathic
receptivity,”[1] which allows him to
share, and reflect, the emotions of other living beings around him. Estranging
himself from the group after being scorned, he undertakes an exploration of the
biology of the forest, later found bleeding and unconscious as a feeling of
dread and intense fear begins to infect the rest of the group. When he is found
and regains consciousness he reveals he has discovered the sentience of the
ecosystem, able to be recognised because of the irrational fear reflected back
at the group by the planet. The scientists debate the plant ecosystem lacking
the fundamental nervous system that would allow them to possess such a strong,
collective intelligence. Though others insist that the root and epiphyte system
can be compared to that of the nervous system, a web of connections, arguing:

Sentience or intelligence isn’t a thing, you can’t find it in, or analyse it out from, the cells of a brain. It’s a function of the connected cells. It is, in a sense, the connection: the connectedness.[2]

I suppose I could feel the roots. Below me in the ground, down under the ground… I felt the fear. It kept growing. As if they’d finally known I was there, lying on them there, under them, among them, the thing they feared, and yet part of their fear itself.[3]

While the planet is sentient it is also helpless, object to
the humans’ subject. It possesses an innate vegetable
fear
, coexisting with Osden as part of him, he as part of it, but responsive
as living object and ground, aware of being stepped on, laid on, dug into.

Sentience without senses. Blind, deaf, nerveless, moveless. Some irritability, response to touch. Response to sun, to light, to water, and chemicals in the earth around the roots. Nothing comprehensible to an animal mind. Presence without mind. Awareness of being, without object or subject. Nirvana.[4]

Le Guin’s planet is infantilised, and immobile. Yet, there is
no sense of domination or power, only a unifying helplessness between the
humans and the planet; further strengthening contemporary parallels and
oppositions between the impacts of the global, unconscious human on a global, vulnerable,
and conscious nature. The ecosystem manifests globalisation in a completely new
way, humans and ecosystem, separate and together, forming a self-reinforcing
feedback loop of fear, isolation, apprehension and anxiety. The global becomes
alien, an other being complicating
the sublime romanticisms of engagement with nature. Humans have no “natural”[5] way of relating to
this connectedness, the forest representing a state of being that humans aspire
to; a world where temporality does not exist, an immortal being, silent, and
completely unified across oceans.

Network of processes… There are no individual plants, then, properly speaking. Even the pollen is part of the linkage, no doubt, a sort of windborne sentience, connecting overseas. But it is not conceivable. That all the biosphere of a planet should be one network of communications, sensitive, irrational, immortal, isolated.[6]

The humans are not home, they will age and die. Their language drives them further apart, becoming other to the planet’s one-ness. The story, published in 1971, removed from the context of the romantic 1960s movements towards the Gaia hypothesis and “global villages”[7], remains significant in examining contemporary modes of globalisation, and the relationship between human and nature.


[1] Heise, Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”

[2] Heise,
Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”

[3] Heise,
Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”

[4] Heise,
Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”

[5] Heise,
Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”

[6] Heise, Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google
Earth.”

[7] Heise, Ursula K. “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth.”


I mourn because I have already lost something that never had a chance to exist.

If sentience is connection, then we have cauterised the mind and soul.

Thought is:

Root,

Sand,

Mud,

Leaf,

Sunlight,

Branch,

Tide,

Wind,

Moon.

Unison is beyond us
now, ­the only thing we share is vegetable fear.

Where is our agency?

Where are we rooted?

Where do we belong?

Minds without senses,

Senses without minds.

We dig, into what?

We steal, from whom?

We stand, where?

Her.


Figure 3:
From the series Dis Position, Roma Anderson, Fuijifilm Instax Polaroids, Wakaaranga Creek Reserve, Pakuranga, Tāmaki Estuary (2018)


Other Minds, Gary Zhexi Zhang

Other Minds[1], by Gary Zhexi Zhang, explores the contemporary movement towards modes of artistic practice which embrace the uncertainty of the human position in the wake of the development of expanding intelligences and entities;  a world where humans are no longer the centre.

In this article, the contemporary returns to the gothic in
the wake of new “anxieties[1], modes of technology,
and changing ideas of being. We are now faced with the “beyond human[2], artificial
intelligences existing beyond our sensorium and experience, whose thoughts we
can only infer. Agencies “dance”[3] together, as artists use
these anxieties to navigate identities and intelligences; using the super and
extra-natural as vessels to engage and embody these new forces[4]. Artists are taking ownership
of the shift away from the human, opening a new and progressive space for
initiatives which develop organically alongside these entities.

New practices consider the artist as a conduit, a way of recognising
art and science as performative engagements with the ontological, rather than
representational modes of reality, “to be alive to an environment of lively
systems, human and non-human alike, is a reminder that we exist prepositionally
– above and below, amongst and within.”[5] Artists “channel”, “conjure”and “host”[6] these forces,
unveiling new forms of thought, and new minds, unsettling human-centric
epistemologies[7]. New aesthetic
sensibilities favour “sticky” over “smooth”, “embodiment over “representation”, “entropic emergence” over “linear causation”[8].  An engagement with other agencies, as well as
a conscious inquiry into the organic, embodied nature of subjectivity, and the
sometimes “violent biopolitics and interrelation” of living bodies, cultures
and species within “socio-technical ecologies”[9]. These conductive
roles unsettle long-held detrimental, colonial frameworks of thinking and
structuring human engagement with nature and natural spaces. This shift
eliminates much of the established distance between the human and natural
spheres, instead implementing a unity, synchronicity and reciprocity that works
towards an embodied co-existence and evolution.

Artists disrupt conventional social responsibility, and its safe
operative distance, through the intimacy of these other worlds. Taru Elfving’s Beyond Telepathy, 2017, a live event
which investigated the potential of communicating without a shared language, draws
from the origins of the “broadcast”, something “sown by scattering”[10]; carrying the notion
of other through the exploration of the “beyond”[11], something existing
outside of human comprehension and experience. This rhizomic and supernatural approach
to assemblages of agency, and their manifestation as active and psychic
ecologies in the natural world, has also been adopted by Essi Kausalainen’s Lovers (2017). Kausalainen structured a
performance recreating the psychic harmony produced by the fungi mycorrhiza, giving voice to, and
manifesting “a mutualistic bond of nutritious exchange”[12].

Figure 4:
Essi Kausalainen, Lovers, 2017, performance documentation, ‘Beyond Telepathy’, Somerset House Studios, London, 2017.

This was reflected in the space, participants lying on the
floor in meditative unison, creating a psychic tension in the temporal gallery
space. This connective mode of consciousness and awareness in attempting to
channel other agencies has been adopted by other practitioners and theorists,
Robert Macfarlane’s “wood wide web,”[1] and Shu Lea Cheang’s
“post-internet mudland”[2] in pursuit of “collective
fungal consciousness”[3] from 2018’s Mycelium
Network Society
. Ecology is not a distant body to be observed, but something
sentient and beyond ourselves. A “biomorphic substrate“[4] through which we are
all distributed, in all directions, a series of semi-permeable membranes, interacting
and separating, I from we from they. We now encounter entities that our
sensorium cannot begin to identify with, experience or understand. Agencies far
more evolved than our own, conscious exoticas“[5] utterly inaccessible
to the bounded and embodied criteria of human existence.”


[1] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[2] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[3] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[4] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[5] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[1] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[2] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[3] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[4] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[5] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[6] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[7] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[8] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[9] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[10] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[11] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.

[12] Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other Minds.” Frieze.


What is it to be
Mangrove?

I can imagine how Mangrove
operates, but I am fundamentally unable to understand

‘What it is like for
Mangrove to be Mangrove.’

What is it to have
roots,

To be porous,

To take in the
surround,

To be host,

To be wasteland?

I cannot know.

I will never
experience this embodiment.

I can only infer and
impress, presuppose.

I will never know what
it is for Mangrove to be Mangrove.
[1]


[1] Paraphrasing of
concepts from: Nagel, Thomas. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” The Philosophical Review, 83, no. 4
(October 1974): 435-50.


Figure 5:
From the series Aura, Roma Anderson, Polaroid Land Sonar Sx-70 Polaroid, Wakaaranga Creek Reserve, Pakuranga, Tāmaki Estuary (2018)


Vibratory Photography, Anthony Enns

Vibratory Photography[1], by Anthony Enns,  examines the photographic medium’s position within spiritualist and occult histories of the ether and psychic communication, and the influence of theosophical scientific theory on the emergence and manifestation of abstract modernist photography of the period.

The
camera is an apparatus that is linked to, and can be understood as, an extension
of the human nervous system. The camera’s material and psychic recording and
manifestation of visual information can be seen as analogical to the optic
nerve’s connection to the eye and brain, proposing a link to thought and
greater consciousness.

These
vibrations are hybrid and complex, recording thought through the photographic
image, and fostering a method of direct psychic communication between artist
and viewer. Camera, and photograph, analogous to demonstrations of thought
transference, molasses functioning as a “reflecting lens, which focused the
sender’s thoughts, and a developing tray, which enabled the visible
manifestation of previously invisible images.”[1]  Liquids have always been tools of divination,
acting as a fluid membrane between worlds, receiving and reflecting light, and
therefore, reality. Two individuals sit opposite one another, one projecting their
thoughts into the bowl, for the other to receive. Collyer likens an image’s
impression appearing on a daguerreotype, the sender obliged to embody the image
psychically before it can be received and developed slowly in the other’s mind.[2]

This
expanded to include the ether and vitalized electricity, vibrations affecting
the transmission of light to the optic nerve and brain. The eye as the perfect
camera obscura. The network of blood vessels surrounding the pupil acting as
the lens, focusing, and vibrating the image, nervous molecules producing ‘THE THINKING POWER’?. THOUGHT is the
motion of these particles of nervous matter charged with vitalized
electricity.’[3] Vibrations
in the ether, existing beyond the confines of the brain, received and stored just
as the camera records light. Ushering in vibratory thought’s existence as a force
with energy and agency, a physical presence equal to other vibrations in the
natural world.

New
formulations aimed to explain the equivalence of thought waves scientifically
and materially, photographic plates recording neural and ultraviolet activity. The
ether, “universal”and “impalpable”[4], is
diffused through all space and permeating all bodies. So elastic, that no psychic
action occurs without creating its own reciprocal wave. Brain waves, transmitted
continually as a series of undulations in space. The elastic and fluid
properties of the ether, in turn, directly related to the cerebration of the
individual; thought energy, manifested as vibrations.[5] Thought
necessitating the expenditure of energy, required to set into motion these
atomic, molecular, centres[6].

These
exchanges of energy are reciprocal and synchronous, similar to the electrical
exchanges between poles.

The activity of the brain may be more
speedily exhausted by the presence of other brains capable of sympathetic
vibration with itself.[7]

The
discovery of electrical waves had a profound effect on theories of
consciousness and the understanding of thought transference. Consciousness existing
in the brain as the energy of an electrical charge around a conductor does, unseen,
but in the surround; the “sensory consciousness” of an individual, existing
like a “faint echo”[8] in
space. These echoes acting in a synchronous reciprocity, “meeting with and
falling upon duly sensitive substances,”[9]
producing obscure portraits of thought. The electro-vital currents of the brain
were made visible using photography. Thought, partaking of the nature of light,
therefore, with electricity, existing and interacting on similar and
interchangeable, vibratory wavelengths. If light is defined as the eye’s
perception of a specific vibratory movement, thought is then a form of
brightness that though not perceived by the eye, nonetheless exists.

 Iconographs[10] are images formed by drawing out the
unseen vital fluid of thought and spirit through mental or physical contact. Photographic
emulsions were sensitive to the mind’s radioactive, luminous and phosphorescent
qualities. The mind causes the “cerebral atoms to vibrate, setting the brain’s
phosphorous aglow. The luminous rays are cast outwards. If one concentrates
one’s thoughts on some object with simple contours such as a bottle, the
fluidal thought-image emerges through the eyes and affects the photographic
plate with its radiation, producing a photograph of the object.”[11] Abstract
paintings in response sought to visualise pure thought, drawing from
theosophy’s notion of the universe as a series of cosmic vibrations, an
embodied divine in material form.

 Iconographs
became “thought-forms”[12],
producing correlated vibrations, accompanied by plays of colour, “the spray of
a waterfall as the sunlight strikes it, raised to the nth degree of colour and
vivid delicacy.”[13] The
body transmitting a vibrating form of itself, manifesting as a thought-form, brought
into being by ideas. Each vibration possesses its own “especial” and “appropriate”[14]rate, analogous to auras, theory, each
a specific psychic state and speed of vibration. The vibrations strive to
reproduce whenever possible, striking other mental bodies, and provoking in
them their own rate of motion; producing the same thoughts in the receiver, as
the thinker who emitted the divine waves[15]. This
is the “express purpose”[16]
of the artist, producing vibrations in the viewer, artwork functioning as a
vehicle through which this can occur. The artwork’s value measured “according
to its power of evoking vibration in the beholder; the strength and clearness
of the thought-form is proportional to the efficacy of the vibration of the
thought.”[17] Artists
visualising a future that dispensed of material tools and apparatus, instead imagining
artworks that would radiate in space void of media.

Painting
and photography were seen to be different. The painter, forced to “materialize”
their ideas to express their “visual imagination”, recreating physically what
was initially a psychic “modelled substance”[18]
in their mind. The psychograph[19],
a psychic photographer, able to take a photographic plate and use their
complete concentrate to project an image onto the sensitised surface. The
artwork born instantaneously, ”freshly alive, in the same moment that the idea
was conceived.[20]” Photography’s
artworks were simultaneously representational and abstract, incorporating the expressive qualities of the paintings of the modernist
period. Stieglitz’s photographic practice represents the birth of photography
as a form of expression, not merely pictures in a pictorial sense. His images
deny the viewer any recognisable frame of reference, temporally and spatially. “Not
only was it impossible to say when and where these photographs were taken, but
it was also impossible to saw which direction is up or down, left or right.”[21]
While the photographs convey cloudness,
the viewer is forced to contemplate these images without orientation,
transforming the clouds into abstract shapes existing outside a human frame of
reference, in a new, psychic space.

Stieglitz’s
titling, connotes an experiential and sensorial space of reference, viewing,
and intent: Equivalents, 1925.

Believing
that abstract shapes and colours were equivalent to abstract thoughts and ideas,
cloud photographs then, are not merely clouds. Instead existing as an
equivalent to his most profound life experiences, an inner need to convey an “Experience
of Spirit”[22]. His
practice is not a making of images, instead an urge to render equivalents of
his particular vision, in the form of photographs. Shapes  equating a feeling, or experience. Equivalents
emerge without disruption from external “pictorial factors”[23], requiring an intense engagement
between the images and those who observe them. The viewer then relives an equivalent of what has been expressed; the images able to represent equivalent internal thought,
and evoke equivalent thought in the
viewer[24]. The
photographer “need not be the servant of facts”, transforming the truth into an
“ancient language of form” representing their feelings, experiences and ideas[25]. The
viewer not only able to recognize, but experience, the represented, particular
state of mind.

Coburn
articulates these desires and urges within the broader context of modernism,

Reaching out towards the future, analysing
the mossy structure of the past, and building afresh, in colour and sound and
grammatical constructions, the scintillating vision of their minds.[26]

Photography
is the tool of the fantastic, the dream and the super-real, recordings the
subconscious or expressing emotional forces. Stranger than the “[27]most
fantastic dreams”, it is the convergence and manifestation of spirit and image,
a shared appreciation of the extraordinary.

I
am attracted to analogue methodologies because of the intermediary space, and
actions that occur, in the time between the framing and production of a
celluloid image. These vibratory understandings of temporality and space have
been significant in articulating my position as a conduit, the camera an
extension of both myself and the mangrove; open to spiritual and elemental
influences in the landscape. I am never closed, my lens and mind remain open to
the truth of the moment, searching for an equivalent image to convey the
convergence of language, subjectivity, time and space between Her and I as the shutter closes.


[1] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 177.

[2] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 177.

[3] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 178.

[4] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 179.

[5] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 179.

[6] Enns, Anthony.
“Vibratory Photography.” 179.

[7] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 180.

[8] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 181.

[9] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 182.

[10] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 182.

[11] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 184.

[12] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 185.

[13] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 185.

[14] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 185.

[15] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 186.

[16] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 186.

[17] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 187.

[18] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 187.

[19] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 187.

[20] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 187.

[21] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 188.

[22] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 189.

[23] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 190.

[24] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 190.

[25] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 190.

[26] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 191.

[27] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 194.


Position
of photographer,

Constant
and implied distance.

Ownership
of subject and image.

I
capture the world,

Image
is mine.

The
world authored by me.

Observer,
collector and spectator.

Nature,
object, artefact and spectacle.

She
will not be recolonised.

She
is photographer.

I
am not absolute.

I
am conduit.

We
converge, to birth image.

An
exchange of subject.

Bi-parented,

Two
temporalities, spaces, subjectivities.

Influence
of internal and external,

Forces.

Image,
as much mine, as Hers.

Intermediary
agency and sentience.

Between
camera and artist,

Material
waves, psychic waves, expressed by Her.

Light,
wind, dust, temperature, humidity, and time,

Her
thoughts..

She
disrupts vision,

Producing.

Born,
from two.

New.

Image.


Figure 6:
: From the series Embryon, Roma Anderson, Canon 750D digital photograph, Bucklands Beach, Tāmaki River (2018)


A Sense and Essence of Nature: Wave Patterns in the Paintings of Frantisek Kupka, John G. Hatch

A Sense and Essence of Nature: Wave Patterns in the Paintings of Frantisek Kupka[1], by John G. Hatch, addresses the artist’s role as a conduit for natural forces, and the process of channelling and interpreting the sensations received from the environment, understood as the catalyst for all creativity.

With the
invention of photography, the mimetic role that painting had adopted through
the seventeenth century was revolutionised, undermining the strategies of
aesthetic representation. This birthed a new wave of modernist painters,
challenged by the explicit truth
presented by the photographic medium, and a movement towards a further
engagement with nature and its structure and laws. Theosophy looked to the sciences
for proof of the existence of higher spiritual realities, provided with
evidence that was interpreted in increasingly abstract and intense ways,
multidimensional space, the ether and electromagnetism.

Frantisek Kupka’s articulation of the
position of the artist as a satellite and conduit for natural forces, and the
artist’s process of navigation is particularly interesting. The artist is forced
to struggle with the “numerous impressions” her senses receive, “disentangling”
and decoding them[1].
Then, elaborating upon these senses, she must introduce logic and structure[2].
Finally, she must move towards “objectifying these sensations,” and giving them
material form, producing art[3].
The work in this, Kupka notes, is “controlling the subjective elaboration of ideas
originating from the observation of the vital mechanism.”[4]

Kupka perceives no difference between
the sciences and arts, reinforcing the importance of nature as the starting
point for everything, “the material upon which our senses act,” thus representing
the very “catalyst of the creative process.”[5]
Further, nature is to Kupka the model for creativity itself, the artist needing
to parallel the creative forces already present in nature. Nature is not only
subject, but content, content, the most central element of the creative
process. Content that allows us to reveal and parallel the invisible, invisible
laws which our bodies and psyches too, are subject to. Why then should her work
not parallel that which she comes from? She is an indivisible part of nature. The
objective world as nature’s “great theatre,” directing “the structure of
organized matter.”[6]
Open to all impressions, the artist experiences within herself the “moments and
events of the whole universe,”[7]
and the will within herself to recreate everything. Let them try to imitate it,
Kupka challenges painters and sculptors, let their gaze “penetrate beyond the
surface.”[8]
Pursuing, a “conscious solidarity” of the individual self with the “immense
universe”[9].

Form is inseparable from setting, figures
no longer existing as physical entities in Kupka’s paintings, but as
‘components,’ their interactions with colour and scale representing the a
larger convergence of psychic and natural forces, an “atmospheric co-penetration.”[10]
The radiation of nature’s vital energies manifesting in the different relationships
between these vibrations.

Kupka’s methodologies align with my own
principles of artistic production. The material form of my images is
inseparable from their location and subject. I do not aim to imitate, or to
represent, but to convey. She is the form,
content and context.


[1] Hatch, John G. “A Sense and
Essence of Nature: Wave Patterns in the Paintings of
Frantisek Kupka” Vibratory
Modernism
. Edited by Anthony Enns and Shelley Trower. 145-61.

[1] Hatch, John G. “A Sense and
Essence of Nature ”  146.

[2] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  146.

[3] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  146.

[4] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  146.

[5] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  146.

[6] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  146.

[7] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  147.

[8] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  148.

[9] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ”  148.

[10] Hatch, John
G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature ” 148.


I
work in fervour, each outing a new language to decode. A fever I cannot break
She is finite and
infinite,
a paradox of the physical and spiritual. Her cartography must be finished. As a
child I walked along her wire-prisoned rocks. In adolescence she was the
soundtrack to my afternoons and evenings, I walked through her groves and
traced her rivers and beaches, confiding secrets in friends. As an adult she
exists outside of my relationship to her, an entity; subject to converse with
and engage as an equal. She exists beyond value, something to protect, as I
deconstruct her social and political cages. She must be seen, respected and
understood.

I
make by walking, intuitively and experientially. I trace the coastlines with my
feet sinking into her sand, a rooted and willing participant in her systems. It
grounds me. I wade in her waters; her sand on my feet and her currents through my
toes. I too, am mangrove. Her children slither over and around me. I am object
to be traversed and eaten, and subject to be observed as equal. Time slows, I
exist here, but not only now. I am alive and dead, agent and passive, active
and static. I exist for something far older, powerful and vulnerable.

Light
penetrates water, translated into undulating ripples and waves. Fish and
insects swim, fly and crawl. Leaves glisten and whisper. Birds echo, and sing.
Sun will rise and set again. One could easily mistake an immortality. My
closeness affords me better, recognizing symptoms of human disease. Pools
glistening with unnatural iridescence, mistaken for blue skies. Oil reflecting
spectrums of colour that should not exist here. Sands plagued by hues of fragmented
plastic. She coexists, smoothing harsh edges of broken glass and adopting them
into her sands. Her sands paint abandoned billboards, a silent plea. She does
not have enough time. I will not watch her die.

I
am collaborator, conduit and messenger. I exist to channel. She cannot speak as
humans do; her language, ancient, is only understood whilst existing as subject
to her space and power. I look for new messages in sea, sky and sand;
repetitions and marks that mean too much to be simply accidental. Signs,
symbols, hieroglyphics, something new to translate. Her vibrations transcend
space and time, colours rippling through the air to be received by eye. Her
voice pulsates through air to be received as tide, leaves, and birds. Her
essence floats as pungent mud, life, death and rebirth. Her spirit exists as a
vibratory Other. She is subject and object, environment and entity.


Figure 7:
From the series Fog, Roma Anderson, composite positive and negative 35mm asahi pentax photograph, Bucklands Beach, Tāmaki Estuary (2018)


Physics as Narrative: Lewis, Pound and the London Vortex, Andrew Logemann

Physics as Narrative: Lewis, Pound and the London Vortex[1], explores vorticism’s potential as an interdisciplinary, inclusive approach to modernism, a new language by which the world is understood as a fluid and engaged set of vibratory ideas, which constantly intersect and evolve, transcending temporal and spatial limitations.

Vorticism’s
atoms are conceived as entangled and swirling vortexes at the heart of all
matter. The vortex atom exists where there is only movement, vibration, and a
series of “thresholds”- vibratory movement a relative element of energy and
matter[1]. Modelling
the vortex atom as neither solid, nor a mass, but a “whirl in a fluid ether.”[2] A stir
creating other shifts,  possessing its
own definitive vibrations, constituted by the action that brought it into
existence. This space was understood as ether, a space of potential, an “idle
wheel”, or a “radiant node”or“cluster” from, into, and through
which, ideas and theories are constantly coursing[3].

Latour
understands this behaviour to be an act of translation, “displacements through
which other actors travel through networks,”[4] their intervention
implicitly needed for any action to occur. The whirling and vibrating vortex
atom is not static, but active and transformative, changing as it passes
through sequences of different “actors, ideas and praxis… adjusting itself at
each stage to the conditions it encountered there.”[5] Disrupting
the conventions of exchange in the content and context of the network. Instead,
resulting in change, its actors able to “modify, displace, and translate their
various and contradictory interests.”[6] Interventions
transforming concepts through acts of “transposition” and “reinscription”[7],
following the entangled lines as they course through things. Physics freed from
its “discrete” and “codified”[8] status,
and redefined as a set of fluid, and connected, cultural practices. The
transformations of ideas between discourses not dismissed as “errors” or “wastage”[9],
instead, productive sites of conceptual and aesthetic displacement, where
artists can explore cultural modernity.

Arts,
literature and poetry are sciences, studying humankind and the individual, “the
arts give us a greater percentage of the lasting and unassailable data
regarding the nature of (hu)man, of immaterial (hu)man, of (hu)man considered
as a thinking and sentient creature”[10]. Prompting
a wide intersectional discourse and understanding of matter across mediums.
Paintings, arrangements of colour that express, in the same way music is an
expressive arrangement of sound; a cross-pollinated and open understanding of
harmony across all disciplines. A harmonic system of “aesthetics and not merely
of physics and optics,”[11]
depending on optics as much as the auditory is dependent on the ear. The
aggressive, and reductive role that the discourse surrounding modernism had in
its many applications across disciplines, obscuring “the energies playing back
and for the with destabilizing scientific theories at the time.”[12] This
destabilizing of harmony, aesthetics and physics lead to what Pound saw as a
form of abstract image circularity that would be free of the limits of space
and time. Great works of art contained a specific sort of equation, image summoned into being through form by the equation. An
example of this intersectionality is Pound’s articulation of the radioactive and
dynamic properties of poetic form and expression, the particles of poetry on
the skin “enacting an affective change of state in place of radium’s material
one.”[13] The
formal control of language providing the artist with the ability to maximise
the intensity and affect of the poetry, creating “resonant patterns and forms,”
and ordering the modern experience, “electricity or radioactivity, a force
transfusing, welding, and unifying.”[14]

The equation encompasses the artist’s
ability to transpose and capture the forces of the ether into sympathetic
elements, imbued with modern energy and taking the form of sharp, geometric
images. The vorticist artist is the figure at the centre of a system of
cultural pulses and energies, directing aesthetic forces. The vortex, the point
of “maximum energy” with the “greatest efficiency”; a continuous fluid
whirlpool of energy, pulsing and undulating with culture and adapting to its
surround. The vortex can be characterised as Wagnerian, confusing the spectator
by assaulting their senses at every moment, preventing lucidity of thought and
understanding[15]. Also, as an entity focusing
the intensity of the mind. Once attuned to the rhythm of the vortex, one is increasingly
sensitive towards not only the vortex’s form, but all other “forms, rhythms,
defined planes, or masses.”[16]

These
sympathetic forms and elements possess their own vitality, form and agency-
crashing into each other, accelerating and glowing with supernatural energy. The
artist directs a “fluid force against circumstance,”[17]
conceiving form from these impressions and pulsations rather than observing and
reflecting them. This is analogical to a magnet’s action against small metal
filings, the magnet’s energies organize and create form, and by this force, “order
and vitality and thence beauty”[18] is
manifested. Beauty then, is attributed to thus exchange and confluence of
energy, resulting in design, something that is meaningful and expressive. At
the heart of this chaotic and violent oscillation of motion, silence, born from
the vorticist, “where all energy is concentrated.”[19]
Energy manifested as visual embodiments of vital rhythms, inter-textual,
repetitive, and geometric abstractions, given form by artist.


[1] Logemann, Andrew. “Physics as
Narrative: Lewis, Pound and the London Vortex.” Vibratory Modernism. Edited by Anthony Enns and Shelley Trower.
2013, 80-95.

[1] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 81.

[2] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 83.

[3] Logemann, Andrew.
“Physics as Narrative.” 83.

[4] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[5] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[6] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[7] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[8] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[9] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[10] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 81.

[11] Enns,
Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” 194.

[12] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 82.

[13] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 85.

[14] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 85.

[15] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 87.

[16] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 87.

[17] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 87.

[18] Logemann,
Andrew. “Physics as Narrative.” 85.

[19] Logemann, Andrew.
“Physics as Narrative.” 85.


She is vortex.

Force and energy.

…Beginning with waves upon rocks,
upon wood, upon ground,

Striking and falling,

Reaching.

Velocity accelerating,

Energy more intense.

…Luminous green light on leaves /
Clashing against crosses of branches, the cleaving and embanking of roots giving
way to the Whirl,

…Centripetal, mangrove, artist, in
the vortex.

…Flora, fauna,

Angles holding lines of one colour.

… The violence of the clash,

On straight strips of hard colour,

The tide continually breaking and
reforming the pattern in a predictable rhythm.

…Rendering the estuary,

Alive with light,

Her children living in form.[1]


[1] Paraphrasing
of prose from: Pound, Ezra. ‘Dogmatic Statement on the Game and Play of Chess (Theme for
a Series of Pictures,’ ed. Wyndham Lewis, Blast
2, July 1915, 19.


Figure 8:
From the series Primordium, Roma Anderson, Canon 750D photograph, Te Naupata Reserve, Bucklands Beach, Tāmaki River (2018)


Artificial. Mark Doty

Artificial[1],
by Mark Doty,

addresses the complexity of the hybrid, artificial and phenomenological
experiences we negotiate in contemporary architectures of advertising and
visual communication. Doty explores the aesthetics of the fractured and the
whole, and how these can be employed with screens to create not only a surface
upon which the images can enact their choreography, but as a more abstract and
embodied portal through which we can experience the essence of the thing.

Doty
explores the value in the artificial contemporary experience of fractured
images, and how they impact the sensorium and the mechanics of human desire in the
spectacle of art and non-art. He describes the embodied experience he undergoes
whilst viewing the installation of televisions in the street’s storefront
window.

Figure 9:
Samuel Galison, Televisual Horses, 2005, composite digital photograph.

Each monitor in the window offered a
new portal of engagement, the herd of horses displayed entirely or partially,
moving or still, framed in a “flickering mosaic.”[1]
Doty describes this viewing as akin to a classic hand-held puzzle, now commonly
found in iPhone game applications. It is a network of tiles within a frame,
missing a single square, the pieces rearranged, then able to be slid by hand or
touch to form a coherent image.

Here
a tail in motion like some kind of animate mathematical diagram, sine curve of
rise and fall. Here nothing but hooves. Here a white-lidded eye. Dip of the
back. White arc of a neck. [2]

Each monitor possessed its own
anatomical literacy, but also a larger digital anatomy, an arrangement of
pixels on screen, monitor in installation; shades of black-and-white
information and movement to be transmitted to eye. The viewer able to extend
their experience into a “faceted, encompassing and – strangely – intimate
version of the world.”[3]
A beauty of otherness as Doty describes, this artificiality the means by which
the beauty is revealed to the spectator. A fragmented series of parts, distinct
but also familial. Organic, alive, biological, anatomical, active. Artificial,
representational, pixelated, processed.

These parts, no
matter how small (blinking, a few strands of mane), arise from the same field;
together they make some more complicated whole than a single pair of human eyes
could ever achieve.[4]

The viewer experiences an embodied spectatorship, witnessing
something visceral, and evocative, yet structured and hollow. It displaces and
envelops. Smelling the dust and the distinct scent of horse-ness. Feeling the
pounding of heart, assault of wind, and adrenaline’s goose bumps. The eye’s battle
between whole and detail. Doty asks,

But how could I
ever experience the polyphonic storm of seeing that these stacked images allow?[5]

On these monitors, existing both on surface and
beyond, the horses are both “particular”and
“abstract bodies”[6].
Individual animals, distinct, independent and active. Yet, also part of a “generalized
herd”[7],
both digitally and literally, moving as a larger entity, and within an
installation. The mosaic, to Doty, producing an overall sense of artificial and
real “Equinitude? Equinicity?”[8]
an essence of the dynamism of horse-ness. Filling the street entirely with
horse.


[1] Doty,
Mark. “Artificial.” Sensorium:
Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art
. Edited by Caroline
A. Jones. Cambridge, MA: MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2006, 108-111.

[1] Doty,
Mark. “Artificial.” 108.

[2] Doty,
Mark. “Artificial.” 108.

[3] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.

[4] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.

[5] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.

[6] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.

[7] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.

[8] Doty, Mark. “Artificial.”
108.


Spectator,

Multi-faceted,
displaced, site-seeing.

Audience
is consciously challenged,

Disrupting
the fleeting.

There
is no narrative, experience is structured through the moments between.

Repetition
and space,

Inviting,

Simultaneously
numbing.

Time
decodes the artwork.

Why
must it be comfortable?

Difficult?

Affective
and active,

Evocative.

I
create and collapse distance,

Modes
of responsibility.

Aggressive,
loud, fast,

Protest.

Activism.

Slow,
ephemerality,

Vibrant.

Spiritual
resonance.

Colonial
shaping of sight,

Spectators
of the natural,

I
refuse to collect and frame.

The
coast is ‘re-imagined’ as a recreational walkway,

Uninhabitable
space given purpose.

Scenic
object to be framed by lookouts and piers.

I
am not preserver, or protector.

I
am not aestheticist.

The
spectrum of vitality, in foliage and waters,

Exists
before and without me.

I
re-animate this,

A
new language.

An
entity,

Speaking,

An
equal.

Spheres
and surfaces of engagement to be broken.

Nature
and human are indivisible.

A
closeness restores responsibility.

Nothing is futile.

Act.


Figure 10:
From the series Interval, Roma Anderson, 35mm Pop Toy Camera photographs, Pakuranga, Tāmaki Estuary (2018)


Works Cited:

Doty, Mark. “Artificial.” Sensorium: Embodied
Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art
. Edited by Caroline A. Jones.
Cambridge, MA: MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2006, 108-111.

Enns, Anthony. “Vibratory Photography.” Vibratory Modernism. Edited by Anthony
Enns and Shelley Trower.  2013, 177-97.

Enns, Anthony, and Shelley Trower. Vibratory Modernism.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Ginwala, Natasha, and Vivian Ziherl.
“Sensing Grounds: Mangroves, Unauthentic Belonging,
Extra-Territoriality.” Journal #45
E-flux
. May 2013. Accessed October 26, 2018.
https://www.e-flux.com/journal/45/60128/sensing-grounds-mangroves-unauthentic-belonging-extra-territoriality/.

Hatch, John G. “A Sense and Essence of Nature:
Wave Patterns in the Paintings of Frantisek Kupka” Vibratory Modernism. Edited by Anthony Enns and Shelley
Trower.  2013, 145-61.

Heise, Ursula K. “From the
Blue Planet to Google Earth.” Journal
#50 E-flux
. December 2013. Accessed October 26, 2018.
https://www.e-flux.com/journal/50/59968/from-the-blue-planet-to-google-earth/.

Hejinian, Lyn. “The Rejection
of Closure by Lyn Hejinian.” Poetry
Foundation
. October 13, 2009. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69401/the-rejection-of-closure.

Logemann, Andrew. “Physics as Narrative: Lewis, Pound and the
London Vortex.” Vibratory
Modernism
. Edited by Anthony Enns and Shelley Trower. 2013, 80-95.

Nagel, Thomas. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” The Philosophical Review, 83, no. 4
(October 1974): 435-50.

Pound, Ezra. ‘Dogmatic Statement on the Game and
Play of Chess (Theme for a Series of Pictures,’ ed. Wyndham Lewis, Blast 2, July 1915, 19.

Zhang, Gary Zhexi. “Other
Minds.” Frieze. July 17, 2017.
Accessed October 25, 2018. https://frieze.com/article/other-minds.