The “Biotica” Series
"Truth is a relationship between a statement and its meaning…. Photography turns the relationship between statement and meaning completely around. The photograph does not discover meanings, but rather, it gives them. It does not matter whether they are true or false – even if this could be established. The critical question is, which meaning does it intend to give according to which criteria? The criterion ‘true’ – the value ‘truth’ – is no longer operative in photography and must be abandoned."
- Czech philosopher Vilém Flusser, as quoted by Nancy Tousely, Canadian Art, Winter 2005.
Flusser’s is a bold assertion, given that the power of photography comes, in large part, from its assumed veracity. Indeed, Tousely herself muses: “…what will photography be when it is no longer connected to the world out there as a material trace? Will it be photography?”
The present body of work explores this question directly; its aim is to explore our experience with images that read like photographs, but which we know have no direct connection to the real world.
“Biotica” consists of a series of digital drawings of imaginary biological specimens. Each “specimen” contains direct visual references to biological forms that are familiar to us such as membranes, orbs, tails and the like. In addition, translucence and in some cases implied movement, combine with biological form, to evoke a sense of living energy and presence. Although there are enough references to living things to evoke a sense of familiarity, there are not enough for the viewer to positively identify what s/he is viewing.
Deliberately modest in size, each image invites intimate interaction, but itself remains mute as to the scale of the entity being depicted, or the context in which it “exists.” Furthermore, although each one has been presented to resemble a photograph, care has been taken not to overdo the artifice; indeed, the aim is to create “photographs” that are more perplexing than convincing; more enigmatic than illustrative.