My thesis is centred around the question, “Can there be anthrodecentric art?” This question itself is presupposed by several questions, each complex and requiring in-depth examination. First, “What is art?” “When does art occur?” In order to conceive of a “de”-centred art of any kind, the subject/object relationship must be examined and then deconstructed to allow for alternate approaches to comprehension to become available. If an anthrodecentric art can be created, what will it look like and how will it function?
Upon reflecting on my practical work, the methodology, and the underlying methods; a few fundamental elements stand out. These core elements of my practice are a reflection of the self and the other, visually expressing logical arguments often through the terms of a mathematical proposition and theorem, a combinatorial approach to technology, and the reification of language. Throughout the entirety of my practice, I am process oriented and experimental in approach to concept, process and materiality. Conceptually my practice revolves around the exploration of notions of nature/ecology, the when/how of art, terms of differentiation of humans and non-humans, and expressions of agency and affect; including a multiplicity of sub-categories of concern within each of these stated areas of conceptual practice. In exploring the subject/object relationship, the goal is to upend existing “unquestioned understandings” and to open the possibility of role reversal and the understanding of a reversal of effect. Dissecting small components of the agency of a non-human, for instance, allows for the momentary lapse in pre-conceived notions and entertain a conceptual framework in which the non-human acts upon or influences the existence of the human. By reconfiguring such an understanding, even momentarily, an evolving approach to sustainable thought can be formed.
The importance of this shift in the meaning of nature lies in the environmental crisis and the courses of action that are being pursued and those courses which are being avoided. Dealing with the base relation-of-being between humans and non-humans allows for a complex understanding of environmental issues and allows for a deep understanding of the possibilities and role of human agency in combination with the non-human actants at play. Nature is no longer the other, that which can be tamed, exploited, or preserved without consequence. No longer understood as a singular encompassing description for that of the not-man, or the opposition to culture; as a term it has been made obsolete through complex assemblages of agency. Although, the common understanding of, the economic functionality and the political use of nature has retained its previous status. My proposed research utilises contemporary theories of ecology and vital materialism to design experiential art situations that erase the privileged position of subject for the human and place it directly in assemblages with non-human actants; thus activating a non-hierarchical collective. The purpose of such a project is to reify theoretical constructs in a manner that can have an ontological influence, as well as pose the question “Is it possible to create anthrodecentric art?