Reflection : Nature / colour / Light

During the last year and a half I have had to be adaptable, flexible and resilient.. as we all have. I have shifted direction a few times to adapt to daily change while applying my practical skillset to help out in the pandemic where I could. During that time, much of what I have seen and read has been internalised. 

While dealing with the immediate crisis, in the back of my mind, I was aware that a larger crises loomed on the horizon… that of human extinction through the runaway feedback state of various ecological systems ( aka global climate crises).

So, feeling compelled to make art about my experience of the pandemic, make sense of the science and broadcast news I set about dealing with this growing internal tension, 

I felt a need to bring more colour into my still images and I was also drawn to a key aspect of my work, that of light. For me, light is uncertain, shifting changing and which, through the progress of the sun, marks time and giving  a sense of self in space and time as it filters through the bodies senses. Light in both nature and the computer can be mediated as if it were a material. 

For me, light represents the uncertain, shifting relationship between humanity and nature while embracing the evolution of advanced technology (in all its positive forms and with all its potential to help us in our hour of need… even if sadly coming out of times of hostility). 

A few pieces from my personal experimental practice that considered colour and light pointed to a potential solution. 

One (2008)

Kinetic Sculpture 

Paper (Western) with Magenta andCyan dyed Thread, gold thread. 

Interconnection Screen (2008)

Paper (Western) Kinetic Screen sewn with magenta dyed cotton thread.

Interconnection Projected Video (2008)

Film projected on to Paper (Western) Kinetic Screen 

Time (2008) 

Kinetic Paper Screen 

Image captured from Film produced on Kings Hill, Uppingham. 

Guardian : The carcass cleaner (2007)

Paper (Western) with Magenta, Cyan and Yellow Dyed Cotton Thread, 


Two Paths : Heisenberg’s two slits experiment (Quantum Mechanics) 20013

Digital Photograph

Natural Light digitally photographed through slits in paper cut in the form of paths which were drawn on the landscape from walkers in the Pennines. 


Digital Screen Capture 

Unity Game Engine environment modelling Lighting experiments (wayfinding in digital environments) 

Helix (VR) 

Digital Screen Captures

Unity Game Engine environment lighting (Optimised for Oculus Quest) 

I remembered the Body Electric Len Lye exhibition at the Ikon, Birmingham which I spent many hours in a few years ago and, in addition to sketching and recording the movement of the kinetic sculptures, I remembered his really interesting set of photogram. This would be a way of capturing natural light (photons) and shadows formed from ‘real’ objects and materials. 

I didn’t want to handle high toxic chemicals but became interested in how phtographs can be made at home. My research led to the Cyanotype process which I will explore further in subsequent posts.