VIDEO: 'We have the illusory sense that we are separate entities from the outside world'

| 29th March 2018

Susan Derges: "The photographic image parallels the scientific gaze."

Susan Derges
Artist SUSAN DERGES became one of the pioneers of camera less photography after becoming frustrated at the way 'the camera always separates the subject from the viewer'. Much of her work explores the relationship between the observer and the observed; the self and nature or the imagined and the 'real'

The photographic image parallels the scientific gaze in the way that it can slice up the world for scrutiny and as evidence, but it also has the potential to cultivate a subjective response.

Susan Derges speaking at The Resurgence Talks in September 2017 

What is the relationship between inner and outer, mental and physical, subjective and objective experience? If they are all part of one continuous process, how can this be visualised?  

What are the metaphors offered by science, as well as those underlying scientific ideas about the mystery of form coming into being and the whole process of embodiment?

Dr Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author of more than 85 scientific papers and 12 books, speaks on 'Science and Spiritual Practices' for the next Resurgence Talk in London on 25 April 2018.

Digitally mediated

These are just some of the questions internationally celebrated artist Susan Derges considers in her work using the pioneering technique of cameraless photography, 

She said: “The photographic image parallels the scientific gaze in the way that it can slice up the world for scrutiny and as evidence, but it also has the potential to cultivate a subjective response - by which the world is experienced as a whole and in which intrinsic value and mutual respect are possible.”

Speaking at the Resurgence Talks about one of her earlier works, The Observer and the Observed, Susan says : “You have the camera and then the lens separating you as the maker from what’s in front. And this separation also takes place within our own biology. We have the illusory sense that we are separate entities from the outside world.”

Much of Susan’s work has dealt with this relationship -  of separation and connectedness with the natural world.  She says removing the camera allows an almost alchemical transformation, to extraordinary and powerful effect.

The natural world, in particular the landscapes near Susan’s home on Dartmoor, continue to influence and inspire her work and in the digitally mediated world in which we now find ourselves, she says reconnecting with nature has never been so important.

This speaker

Susan Derges began her career as a painter working in London and Berlin in the 1970’s and moved to Japan in 1980 where she developed the cameraless approach to photography for which she has become internationally renowned. She is a visiting professor of photography at the University of Plymouth.

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