Ether Signposts #35/52a: Laura Thompson’s Senseless And Creatures Of Modern Myth
They feature modern day handmade yeti like creatures/outfits, which recall folkloric costumes but are made from disposable manmade objects.
The project in part is a reflection on how modern technology and ways of living can cause a literal deadening of the senses, as we tend not to develop particular senses due to nolonger needing them, taking as one of its starting points this quote by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss:
“There was a particular tribe which was able to see Venus in full daylight, something which to me would be utterly impossible and incredible… Later on I looked into old treatises on navigation belonging to our own civilisation and it seems that sailors of old were perfectly able to see the planet in full daylight. Probably we could still do so if we had a trained eye.”
There is a quiet, subtle sense of melancholia, loss or being lost to the photographs, a sense of the creatures searching for something, some kind of sense of home, meaning or connection in the world (or should that be on planet Earth?).
They put me in mind of both some odd contemporary art house science fiction film (possibly filtered through a parallel world take on Doctor Who creatures from back when or creatures created for an alternate take on Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin) and also Charles Fréger’s photographs of folkloric costume and the way they show man being transformed into creatures.
Along which lines, Laura Thompson says this of her project:
“I began to look into various mythologies from around the world and the costumes associated with them and observed most involved the covering of the face and many times the entire body to transform the person into a mythical being. At the same time I was looking at urban legends and hoaxes such as Bigfoot and people’s obsessive fascination of these elusive beasts. What interested me most was that many seemed to be based on existing mythologies and the fact that many of these creatures, seemed to be trapped between two worlds. Bigfoot being the prime example is not quite human or animal so wanders on the fringe of both, not really belonging to either…
“…From these findings I began to create modern day mythological narratives in which I explore themes associated with the dislocation of our senses. It is centred on constructed “yeti-like” creatures made up of either disposable manmade plastic forks, earplugs, vinyl gloves, car air fresheners or compact mirrors, each representing one of the senses…
“These creatures have been consumed by these modern, materialistic items and as such can no longer sense anything at all. Neither human nor animal, they wander between worlds fitting in nowhere, yearning to be part of a world they no longer belong to, and becoming a creature of myth.”
Directions and Destinations: Senseless at Laura Thompson’s website
Local Places Of Interest:
Day #69/365: Charles Frégers Wilder Mann and rituals away from the shores of albion
Wanderings #18/52a: Further Not-Quite-So-Mainstream Pastoralism And 1970s British Science Fiction Costume And Effects Prototyping…