Digital Seeding
Curated by Carola C. Dixon
August 13 - September 09, 2020
Ellen Gilbert

“Disconnect from digital life and walk through nature, look up to the swaying tree tops and hear the birdsong, loose yourself in the colours of the leaves and shades of green, examine the detailed textures of the bark on trees, forget who you are and breath in the fresh breeze, smelling the natural scents of the woodland and earth beneath your feet. Feel the presence of the now and embrace your inner nature.”

Ellen is a British photographic performance artist who uses her body to physically communicate her internal feelings of being forced to navigate digitally in her habitat. Her technique becomes a therapy for herself and hopefully for others, as she manipulates her body and image into a form of reflection, creating her own visual language. - It is no longer the creator in the image but the essence of what the artist feels, thinks or wishes.

The works exhibited are images from three separate series, including her current series in process ‘iHumans’. Within each series the artist is situated in an altered reality in-between humanity, nature and technology, touching on Christian mythology to interpret digital modern life today. Ellen hopes to provoke the viewer to question their relationship to technology, enlightenment and the natural environment. The artist’s research is inspired by media theorist Marshall McLuhan and his vision that ‘Environments are invisible’. He stated that the articreator has a particular role in society to reveal this: ‘The Artist as a maker of anti-environments becomes the enemy in society.… He does not accept the environment with all the brainwashing functions with any passivity whatsoever; he just turns upon it and reflects his anti-environmental perceptions upon it.’[1]

Ellen addresses Marshall McLuhan’s theories by creating artworks (anti-environments) that can be used as a resource in expressing the altered realities in our overwhelming digital world.

[1] Marshall McLuhan, “The Invisible Environment: The Future of an Erosion.” Perspecta, Vol 11, (1967), 161-7