msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush
LSBU School of Arts & Creative Industries
Copeland Gallery, London
This is how THEY felt
About 14 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year, 40% of which is single-use plastic. Some scientists estimate that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in oceans worldwide. Most of the plastic ends up in forming giant garbage patches in the ocean. At least 1400 marine species are affected by this non-biodegradable matter, which is a reason for apprehension.
The series consists of 4 stages of suffocation, the Struggle, the Collapse, the Paralysis, and Death.
The Struggle – The subject starts to panic and begins to find its way out of the plastic bag, having a motive to escape the situation.
The Collapse – The subject starts to lose its energy and starts to give up, as it cannot breathe, its energy drains quickly.
The Paralysis – The subject has lost its control all over its body because the oxygen can’t reach the brain any longer, thus leading to body paralysis.
Death – The subject has drowned and died.
Mae Black: Copy & Paste
‘Copy & Paste’ touches upon themes of millennial culture. The artist challenges apps such as Facetune and Instagram, manipulating a digital process into a meticulous handcrafted one. Piercing the faces and prints with torturous brutality – a brutality hidden behind the subtly of apps - reveals an inhuman hybrid of faces. Mae draws on feelings of discomfort and repulsion to make the viewer think more carefully about their online identity.
The addiction, personal desire and in some cases need to heavily edit one’s photos is consistently visible in Instagram’s highlight reel, forcing unconventional pressures on users to look a certain way. However any mistakes can lead to demoralizing coverage online with trends such as ‘Instagram vs Reality’. The series portrays the disintegration of the user’s sense of self, chipping away at the reality of modern portraiture and thus the believability of photography, when appearance can be so carelessly faked by using a device in the palm of your hand.
Emma Jane Johnston: Red Poverty
This series demonstrates the hardship that many women who live in poverty go through when dealing with their period. The items shown are things that would be used as a cheap alternative to menstrual products, along with a photo of a hand holding coins, representing the cost of period poverty.
Women make up half of the population of the world, and 2.7 billion are at the menstrual age. There are many women and children who face poverty due to social inequality and low income, because of gender discrimination and the patriarchal gender roles that depend on men being the bread winners. Girls in many countries and cultures are also torn from education and placed into the role of motherhood without any choice of their own. Period poverty has been linked to period stigma, which has left women and girls alienated, and stops many girls and women asking for help to get access to menstrual products. The LGBTQ+ community is also disproportionately affected by period poverty due to discrimination that could lead them to be kicked out of their home and disowned, leaving them to support themselves.
Yet, even today, many people struggle to afford sanitary products because they continue to be expensive and taxed in many countries. This makes it harder for many people to have access to this basic need.
Alessia Raia: Unloved
Alessia invites the viewer to reflect on the thin and sometimes invisible line between love and dependence, and to move away from a common perception of the couple, where the man is the narcissist and the woman the victim of domestic violence. The two female subjects mirror a personal experience in which Alessia found herself impersonating both roles of Narcissist and Victim. Her focus is the subjects’ movements and facial expressions, to keep attention on the contrasting feelings experienced by the narcissist and the victim; During filming no script was followed; instead the actors improvised in response to the location and props. The bed implies a scene after intimate sexuality. The mirror plays a fundamental role in the visualisation of narcissism and literal disintegration of the self. Hand-held camera technique maximises the rawness of feeling, the victim’s anxiety, and mixed feelings of resignation and dependency. The sense of manipulation, reflected by the erosion of mental health, is amplified in the sound track.
Jon Howard: Boris’ Broken Britain
We live in an era dominated by power, in all forms of poison from the manipulation of the British Media by politics - Newspapers, TV, artists and musicians, and more currently social media. This political jigsaw puzzle of news articles was created from over twenty newspapers, from News International papers, the Evening Standard and many more. The collages are printed on newspaper, denoting disintegration and adding context to the selected ‘news.’ The work follows ‘news’ coverage over recent months, ripping out headlines and articles, creating a series of sinister collages aimed at current PM Boris Johnson.
The VHS video visually portrays the lost strength of Britain via the grainy aesthetic of television, and shows the backlash we’re having as a divided nation.
Following the uproar, and present state of Britain we’re overdue an election for change needed to ensure we as people come closer together, not further apart. The general election on December 12th ties in perfectly with our Exhibition at the Copeland Gallery. We’re not the laughing stock of the world, we’re Great Britain and I aim to suggest if one has a view, get out, talk about improvements and vote wisely.
Luke S Reynolds: Order and Harmony
A black studio, red colour of a silky cloth, studio light breaking down as it travels through each layer of silk. A formation of petals integrating to form a flower. The petals are created by throwing, whipping and waving in the air. This forms a ‘cosmos’ – the name of a flower that represents “order and harmony” by embodying peacefulness and love. This is the significance of the flower in Mexico, which is where these flowers originate.
Examining the work, it is described as “metaphysical.” An abstract as in painting, not a photograph, the layers of silk and lighting make a smooth brush stroke on a canvas, with a bold red fading out after each stroke of the brush. ‘Metaphysical’ is defined as concerning the “nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter”.
Anna Freeman: Quiet Decay
Quiet Decay looks into the breakdown and decay of architecture that sits in plain sight alongside the rest of modern society. This project looks into subtle details that show the breakdown of a building and the attempts to conceal these imperfections rather than fixing them.
Often overlooked, Anna pushes everyday decay into the spotlight. The project addresses why we choose to ignore less obvious decay in favour of creating new architecture which will in time decay itself. By photographing such details, Anna presents a feeling of abandonment and neglect as well as exploring the psychological impact surroundings have on the mind, influenced by Jane Rendell’s book, The Architecture of Psychoanalysis.’ ‘Quiet Decay’ looks at how this discrete decay makes people feel when they see it, in the knowledge that this happens all around them. The work is presented using fragile materials in an asymmetrical grid to create a sense of imperfection, the decay in the images juxtaposed against pure white.
Sophia El-Khatib: The Argument
These images capture the moment of explosion, shards of glass frozen in motion. The work depicts an argument taking place between two people. The artist wanted to show the chaos and disintegration of a relationship presenting an idea of domestic abuse and the dysfunction of these people in their household.
Flowers, representing peace and love in a household setting, become a revelation of how quickly a situation can change from peaceful to violent and the tension this creates. The artist used a domestic background to give a feeling of homeliness. Paint peels off the wall to represent the imperfect features of a relationship, and mundane household objects, like wine glasses and vases, are broken to symbolise a violent broken home.
Ewan Ewan Coleman : Disintegration in Nature.
Ewan’s work is an ethereal, comprehensive study of leaves in which the artist has experimented with a variety of techniques and compositions to show the beauty of decay in nature. One of the key questions that was the inspiration behind this project was ‘How do leaves change form during the autumn season?’
In the larger image, Ewan has effectively isolated the subject so that the viewer can immediately focus on it. The vibrancy of the leaves also makes this image an effective response. The monochrome styled images respond to Ansel Adams because the mid-tones of the image gives the subject a bioluminescent effect. The fungal spores on the leaves can be clearly seen and the background gives the subject a distinct contrast which is a key characteristic seen in Adams’s close-up work. Andy Goldsworthy was another key inspiration.
This extensive study of leaves spreads the awareness of the beauty of nature and that we should not take it for granted. This work shows, in a literal sense, how humans manipulate nature to suit our needs. This work also captures a process that is part of the life cycle. One question that Ewan hopes will be clearly conveyed to the viewer is ‘What is the hidden beauty in nature?’
school of arts & creative industries
london south bank university