Future Fossils

54°28'13.1"N 2°41'03.0"W

The impact of the digital on the material realm, relates both to the medium of photography itself and the identity of western European island nations such as Ireland, Iceland and the UK. Future Fossils is a photo-documentary research project examining Photography’s relationship to crisis and contemporary visual culture.

In a globalised world, the material nature of land loses its relevance somewhat as our methods of communication transcend physical travel / physical borders. Photography mirrors the condition of our contemporary material experience in the face of the very real threat (crisis?) of a disappearing material culture and the emergence of a pixelated, globalised, technologically conditioned experience.

In ‘Footprints, In search of future fossils’ (2020) David Farrier offers a compelling  analysis of the ‘the processes that will transform a megacity into a thin layer of concrete, steel and glass in the strata’. At the heart of Farriers meditation is inescapable fragility of all human actions / creations. The infrastructure necessary to support our contemporary communications systems has a vernacular industrial functionality that disguises its impact on our material relations with the landscape.

These photo-documents, part event and part text, offer a record of the arrival of these ‘anonymously designed vernacular structures’ in our ‘near-field’ landscape. Contra to contemporary light speed communication, the series is  produced by the particular set of operations specific to large format (5x4) photography - a slow, material approach to image creation that is indebted to the artists such as Thomas Joshua Cooper, Hilla and Bernd Becher, Donovan Wylie, Paul Seawright, Willie Doherty, John Duncan, Richard Long.