The initial conception of Self Isolation 20 came from the need to create a free exhibition space for art that is not tethered or bound by the societal constraints and pressures of the social and capitalist world, one that is endless and evolving, devoid of the attributes of the capitalist economy that seems to crumble every time a natural disaster, pandemic or crisis afflicts the people on this earth. As much of my work is influenced by the need to recycle my own negative experiences with assault and mental health issues into positive expressions through art, I attempted to focus on an ongoing affliction that has been a source of mental health issues both personally and for many, neglect. Neglect can come in all forms, and is so easily perpetuated by the construct of capitalism - neglect of one's self, environment, community, mental health, interests, and can eventuate in a potentially shortened life riddled with guilt and shame. Self Isolation 20 is a piece devoted to nurturing aspects of my life that I considered afflictions, such as anxiety or technology addiction, and changing my perspective in a way in which I can use this so-called "vice" as a form of empowerment, inspiration, and progression for not only myself and my artistic practice, but hopefully for others as well.
"Jack of all trades, master of none." While it's a cute sounding statement, it's an extremely damaging ideology to those who have ADHD, find it difficult to keep focus on one thing, or live in the endless prowl for novelty or the discovery of new ways of making art or anything for that matter. It is also equally damaging to the ideas of progression in any creative field, as the progression of any creative industry eventuates from the inevitable development of new technology in that field. It's the kind of ideology that leads to genre specificity rather than originality and discovery, making the jobs of art writers and critics fool-proof. In theory, the artworld should uphold and nurture experimentation or progression, but unfortunately, it too is tethered to the wheel of capitalism, and lingers in a state so dependent on the social world and its capital that it remains stagnant and neglectful of the core ideas (i.e. diversity, experimentation) that can lead to progression, much like any other business. In direct contrast, I have attempted to create a digital space where every envisioned form of an artists practice can be actualised in a single space without the normal constraints of the physical world, creating what is an exhibition of my latest artworks, a lookbook, and first person shooter. The exhbition includes works I have created IRL, including embroidery on the character's garments, VR sculptures, character design and engravings in their skin, sound design, destructible hanging artworks, and more.
"si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses"
"If you had stayed quiet, you would have remained a philosopher." When I first learned this phrase while studying Latin in high school, it resonated with me. Looking back, it is a phrase that can sum up a large part of societal neglect that has occurred throughout history. Within Ancient Rome, it was a way in which people in power remained in power, a way to say "if you speak up, it better be perfect," a way to convince people to neglect their own rights as human beings. Our society still honors this phrase, and expects only perfection without offering a perfect system in the first place. The expectation for artists to produce pieces that are final and unwavering is ludicrous in what should be the golden age of the experience economy in art. This is something that we can attribute to those in positions of authority, those that gate keep and attempt to be the taste-makers of our society, those that have gained both monetary and social capital in realms that we ideologise to be far more focused on progression rather than capital gain.
The neglect shown from systems of authority within capitalism, especially from those that are permitted to use violence over others, is undeniably detrimental to the mental health of the people they are employed to govern over. If we think about the core "values" of authority such as the police, "to protect and serve," we can see the heart of neglect in our society. Who are they protecting and serving? Themselves, their mental health, their egos, as in a capitalist society, this is no more than a business that creates problems to meet quotas much like many other businesses. From the highest form of authority down, we are encouraged to promote their interests in order to thrive, which includes systemic racism, as many fellow white people are convinced to believe that they will be losing some hypothetical form of power when others have equal opportunities. Within Self Isolation '20, I created a first person shooter style game to illustrate the fleeting and flimsy nature to systems of authority, especially those based on violence, and the temptation of choice that each person with the authority to carry a gun has when they consider themselves entitled to use it, especially when it is dependent on their state of mind or ego. The barbaric choices people in these positions make are often swift, hollow and lacking in the empathy and education that is needed to create a safe space for the people that they are sworn to protect.
Endless Prowl respectfully acknowledges the true owners of the land on which this work was created, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Endless Prowl pays respects to elders past, present and future, and acknowledges that sovereignty has never been ceded.