[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: Dawn Roe — DESCENT ≈ An Atlas of Relation

Artist Statement 

June 12, MACBA – Convent dels Àngels. Session: Experiencing the Anthropocene. A Transdisciplinary Journey Through Earth

Keywords: Water, Habitat, Multi-Species, Embodiment, Relation

DESCENT ≈ An Atlas of Relation, looks to the fish – who have occupied our planet for millions of years in a constant struggle for survival – as an entryway to visualize the entanglements of interspecies relation through time-based imaging systems referencing the imperceptible slowness of evolutionary processes. Digital photographs, scans, and video documentation are combined with UV-sensitive direct contact printing methods that require multiple minutes, hours, or days to construct an image of/with the natural world. While these camera-less works archive the durational period of each exposure – appearing as frozen traces serving as documents or specimens – the digital images and time-based video clips function as infinitely reproducible experience. Together, these recording techniques result in unpredictable visuals corresponding with feminist perspectives on Darwin’s theory of descent emphasizing anti-essentialist understandings of matter and nature, considering all aspects of Being as forever transformed by and within time.

Thus far works have been produced throughout the U.S. in locations undergoing restoration or habitat conservation, and where relationships to land and water are disputed, revered, mourned, misunderstood, or unacknowledged. This requires recognition of how private and public land acquisition and corresponding histories of displacement (have and continue to) physically and culturally shape these watersheds. Connecting this knowledge with the unimaginable span of deep time embedded within the lives of fish and their watery homes to varied understandings of descent – as passage, downward movement, decline, sinking, legacy, lineage, origination – suggests both the promise and peril of ecological longevity. Resulting visuals consider how our bodies, along with fish and other organisms, find ways of being and living together within the midst of a globally shifting climate impacting our shared resources and, subsequently, our relations. As a collective of inhabitants, how do we persist, together, within the relentless ongoingness of our worlds?

  • Dawn Roe (b. 1971, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, U.S.A.) is Professor of Studio Art in the Rollins College Department of Art & Art History in Winter Park, FL. Working between and within the still and moving image, her projects examine the role of these media in shaping personal and social understandings of our environment through site-responsive engagement. Roe’s work is exhibited regularly throughout the U.S. and internationally and has recently been recognized by Urbanautica Institute Awards, and LensCulture Critics Choice Awards. Her imagery and writing has been featured in many print and on-line publications including Lenscratch, Floorr, Aint-Bad, Oxford American, The Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography’s series Frame/s, and the Routledge publication, photographies. Roe’s work is represented by Tracey Morgan Gallery in Asheville, NC., USA. http://www.dawnroe.com