When I write artist statements I tend to try and include as much information about the project as possible in order to give the viewer some context behind the work, but also leave it open to their own interpretation. I also try and include some research / wider thinking which has fed into the project, as i feel this helps to ground the project in something other than my own thoughts.
The following is the final draft of the statement for the project 'Terra Nullius':
Dreams provide the sleeper with a liminal space; a place where the lines of time and reality become less distinct and sometimes blurred. A typical dictionary definition restricts the phenomenon of dreams to a series of events or images experienced in sleeping minds BUT they are far more complex than this. The project ‘Terra Nullius’ (Nobody’s Land) employs an ordinary bed (a self-built lockdown creation) to act as a symbol of the journey through this transitional space between our conscious and subconscious states; it marks the threshold where the dreamer has left reality behind but is not yet in a subconscious state.
Shooting the project entirely in Scotland over four seasons was a deliberate attempt to explore the way that seasonal change can alter ‘our’ subconscious. The bed and my own presence remain constant throughout this body of work and serve to encourage the viewer to enter each image in a way that is significant for them.
The series of daydreams visualise an ideal, untouched landscape that attempts to convey a sense of calm and act as a safe-haven, perhaps even function as a vehicle for escapism. After all, daydreams are about drifting into a kind of sheltered imagination. Nightmares punctuate this peace with a fearful reality, distorted by subconscious anxiety into a surreal and threatening experience. In this way the bed becomes a metaphor for the fear that can emerge when night falls. This collection of images conveys my personal love for the Scottish landscape alongside the transitory, fleeting nature of both daydream and nightmare that can rapidly spiral out of control, depending on mood and emotion.
I made a conscious decision to include the bed as an installation with a single daydream and nightmare image printed onto reverse sides of the duvet cover. Additionally, this piece is enhanced by the accompanying Zine publication where individual images retain their stand-alone quality by giving a clear indication of the division between daydream and nightmare.
As Time does not feature in dreams, they can be thought of as inhabiting an eternal moment. However, almost always they have some basis in lived experience. When titling the images I have used the actual time and place that they were taken (pinpointed on a map of Scotland) to provide context to the project and hint at the widespread, gruelling nature of the work.