These other selves

These other selves, 2010-23

A series of 26 single and multi-piece gelatin silver film artworks recorded without a camera plein air at Lake Tyrrell in the Mallee region of Victoria, some juxtaposed with other images made in the studio. Displayed backlit atop light tables. Unique objects. A work-in-progress.

These luminous, life-scale shadows of flying, fighting, foraging and fraternizing (mostly) native arthropods (and a wriggling legless lizard) recorded on film without a camera reveal something only the living can: a sense that they are (or were) sentient beings steeped in an umwelt or ‘life-world’ brimming with subjective perceptual significance. Individually, such traits are tantamount to what we might call sentience or ‘spirit’. Collectively, these ‘animal spirits’ animate the relict life-world of a small sliver of Lake Tyrrell’s sandy shore: an instance of why biologist Edward Wilson called invertebrates “the little things that run the world”. Awareness of our ecological interdependence with the biosphere including its invertebrates helps bring into focus the tragedy of why our indifference to their entitlement to life is undoing our own.

Many of these films were the source negatives used for contact printing secondary emulsions by starlight in the Syzygy project. The affiliated artwork on paper, The End of the Age of Entitlement digitally reiterates one of this series.


Collecting live ants with a portable vacuum device near Lake Tyrrell, December, 2009. Being elevated above the ground on the tubs was a precaution against ant bites! Photo by Rudy Frank

Imaging live ants on film without a camera using flash on the shore of Lake Tyrrell, March, 2009. Photo by Viren Mohan