Samuel Joshua Richardson
'Questioning the values of established practice, I am a multimedia artist exploring new and unusual, exciting frameworks within photography. Specialising in painting previously, a sensitivity to relationships between photography, drawing and painting is investigated through research and practice.'
Current artworks explore the relationship between the digital self and past ideologies of the self in conjunction with previous means to represent, such as early twentieth century photography. Through chasing this negation of rigid established frameworks, my photograms have expanded to take up walls and room installations, with some intent to invert the idea of a camera recording an outer reality on the inside, to being inside the camera recording itself. The photoluminescent room installations do this well through its affordable price and easy application, allowing the surfaces of large environments to become photosensitive.
Viewer interaction is essential for this concept to work, and audience members are invited to use the lights in the space to create representations onto the walls, thus being a device within the camera creating the image.
One of the significant qualities of photoluminescent material is its ability to show representations momentarily, as after it is charged by ultraviolet light, the energy is then released back into the environment as green light. It is therefore projected back to the artists, and a visual display of entropy is created. The reaction that this triggers in the viewer impacts the ways in which they learn to use the medium and create new representations. Experiences caused by the receding representations negates the traditional concept of artworks having to last a long time and emphasises the now. This further rejects the commodification of art objects by being in a state of flux, a state of ephemeral temporality which opens up possibilities of significantly unique creations.
The widely accepted digital form of photography, particularly smartphone photography, relies on unethical practice at its core. Unfair labour, such as methods of mining for Cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is just one of many issues related to big companies’ supply chains, such as Samsung and Apple, and furthermore, they conceal this information as much as possible and deny it with blanket statements. Through my practice I try to switch the framework, opening up the possibilities of photography without commercialisation, emphasising the experience of the photographic at a low cost financially and ethically through negating the idea of a pleasing picture result being the goal.
From a commercial perspective, the often over-looked processes of photoluminescence, with their ineffable existence and uncertain state of fungibility, are not ideal. However, it is these qualities of impermanence and entropy that allow for innovation and experimentation to take place, whilst at the same time supporting the desire to reject the commodification of an artwork. Once photoluminescent paint has been used to cover the walls and objects within an environment, the viewer is invited to become a participant in the work, using light as a tool, to fulfil their eidetic desires.
The viewer can use their smartphone light, or a light provided within the installation to create immediate photoluminescent representations within the space that appear as images, only to vanish moments later. A digital archive signifies the performance with a collection of flat, rectangular images that continually fail to be the event itself.