‘It is certain that apparently, though I have seen the same actor a hundred times, I shall not for that reason know him any better personally. Yet if I add up the heroes he has personified and if I say that I know him a little better at the hundredth character counted off, this will be felt to contain an element of truth.’
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
I begin with this quote because it personifies why the characters within the ongoing work ‘The Expedition’ must be many but performed by the same person, myself. In this respect I act as a consistent figure but the work is not about me. The expedition is an investigation into the many transformations of self and how this self is defined as much by fantasies as by realities. There is a concept of truth to be found in the repetitive action and the collective gathering of these selves.
With this in mind the works bring into play a mixture of performing and documenting through photography, the act of constructing architectures, garments, helmets, monuments, and the process of implanting my body into or in relation to these spaces as a means of negotiating the boundaries of self, body and land.
Through mimicry characters reenact gestures of significance, don clothing of magical import, turn to sacred objects etc. all in gestures that replicate the acts seen in others as significant. The inherited histories of the world belong elsewhere to others who have achieved them and to communities and systems that pass them on. How can the individual be expected to find real meaning that does not, in one way or another, merely mimic what has gone before?
The collision of an internal reality and external world through the photograph is something that I have been exploring within the work for the last four years. So far I have collated these elements of superheroes, the artist, speakers on podiums, cardboard monuments and sacred hats, which begin to present a world fuelled by comic books, novels, theatre etc. Through reenactment I’m attempting to pose questions about the authority representation has over the shaping of our reality and how perceiving is not simply a matter of looking but shaping. When I think about it from this perspective the work is really about this act of shaping a personal belief whilst at the same time battling against the façade of what one knows but does not feel to be real.
The work is greatly inspired by the writings of James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges and the theatrical dynamics of the Theatre of The Absurd that confronts the discrepancy between language, gesture and expression combined with the inability of the characters to communicate or see what their heart really seeks.