ME AT THE LITTLE MERMAID INTERVENTION
Performance piece: forcing tourist polaroid photographs into relationship with the surrounding landscape through physical actions which attempt to disrupt the default and colonial settings of image-making.
Following on from my series As if my hand could cross that gap, I embedded myself in the everyday photographic rituals of an established tourist destination, whilst being an actual tourist from Britain holidaying in Denmark. Performatively posing as a tourist from a coach tour, I mimicked details of the behavioural environment and took polaroids in order to blend in and pass well.
The works emerged from a desire to understand and interrogate the role of photography in the maintenance of the post-colonial tourist gaze. That gaze heralding an (often unconscious, yet still devastating) drive for possession, consumption and abuse of landscape and environment, versus perceiving ourselves in live, mutual, symbiotic relationship with the earth, thereby promoting sensitivity, care and genuine connectedness. Both the act of photographing and the photographic object itself often unfortunately function to support the outdated paradigm of the earth as a primary site for human consumption.
Through rough, physical actions I forced each polaroid into direct relationship with its surroundings: immersing the image in seawater and seaweed; rubbing it against rocks, grass and stones; pressing the image against my body; squeezing the inner chemicals out and onto itself in gestures aimed at irreversibly embedding the photographic object back within its environment. Such moves aimed at echoing notions of the destructive gesture of consuming the environment, and the stealing of peoples images, mimicking that of the stealing of energies of site. Disallowing the polaroid to function as a neutral, “innocent” object operating to support the post-colonial gaze.
14 x Fuji instax polaroids + documentation of physical gestures.
The Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017.