Rooted in elements of our built and innate environment, Human Shapes situates viewers in the unseen anthropocene to examine the forces that govern the natural world. These creations are embodiments of what transpires under the illusion of human control, the ultimate subversion of the natural environment. The study is facilitated through the lens of marine kelp, a rapidly disappearing life force that holds great power and restorative potential. The observations drawn from these forms should serve as an ontological framework to perceptualize what is culturally prioritized, and what can be.
Innovation and development are terms primarily designed to serve the many functions and conveniences of human existence. This is a quality that we can classify as anthropocentric, or, central to the actions and motives of humans. This disposition has distanced us collectively from the processes and functions of the natural world. Thus, we have consciously and unconsciously disrupted cycles, defined as innate shapes. We can understand these instances of intersection as new formations, defined as Human Shapes. Upon investigation, we will come to understand that the nature of the latter is often restrictive: our fences, walls, highways, monocultures, waste systems, chemical dependencies are flawed in their blatant disregard, serving as barriers that stifle nature’s processes. But Human Shapes don’t always have to be disruptive. Coupled with the sobering acceptance regarding the human condition is the power which enables us to mobilize, think through solutions creatively, implement our skills, and gaining compassion for our fellow Earth dwellers. By creating representations of human imposed constraint upon nature, along-side the tangible refusal to make our systems and habits less destructive, the work makes space for the unlearning of creationist thought and acknowledgment concerning the impact of our existence.
Just as disturbance to these innate shapes remains seen and unseen, visible and invisible, the repercussions of fracturing these innate shapes remains ambiguous yet inevitable. These inflicted harms have fractured cycles, setting off countless unwinding spirals. The onset of these could sometimes barely be known, even less, felt. The outer-most round takes it’s time acquainting itself. Sometimes the spiral proceeds to unwind for quite some time before it is detected. The unfurling does not stall the less it is paid in attention…some attempt to rewind these spirals.
Despite attempts to rewind, we are met with the inevitable blow in the form of a reminder.
That the spirals are still there,
And faster now.
Now is the time, they said
Now is the time, I said
Now was a time.
But now’s now is not all that different from then’s now.
There is still a need, and as conditions become increasingly dire, more of us begin to see. Perhaps we only feel activated when it has become plane that at some point, a conflict's path will eventually impede some area of our own. Perhaps that is what it takes for an invasive species to recognize their own constrictive effects.