Title of the document

Mark

Midsummer
Title of the document
Photography
Prints for Ukraine
2022


All profit from donation went to humanitarian aid for Ukraine: Help UA from BEThis scouting non-profit organisation collects and purchases humanitarian and medical aid, and delivers it directly to Ukraine.

Fading SensesTitle of the document
Photography
Master Project
2020 - ongoing


What happens if we lose our senses? In times of multispecies extinction and devastating effects caused by climate change, environmental anxiety is a rising problem affecting societies. Solastalgia, a relatively new name describing an emotional distress caused by the loss of ecosystems, is characterised by a perspective of a fading world, a lived experience of the loss of the present. Described as an earth-related state, it reflects the zeitgeist of our time. A perspective of a fading world and a state of fading-away is close to sensory deprivation. Absence of senses, one of the biggest human fears, can lead to intra-mental perception, echolocation and memory flashbacks. ‘Fading Senses’ is a research project and a photographic essay where I examine how Solastalgia affects our mental and emotional health and research the implications of the absence of senses on brain mechanisms. As I have temporarily lost one of the senses in the past, this deprivation became my intuitive leading guide, which I have applied to the working method and to the visual language. Turning my research into a speculative narration, I aim to create a mental image of an ungraspable sensation to underline human disconnection from the natural habitat.

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Ligia Poplawska’s portrait of a blind man is striking. I’ve seen this type of photograph before - famous examples preceed it - but this image is distinctive and comes to life in her series Fading Senses. Looking at someone who cannot see himself, makes us acutely aware of our alterity. We can never contain the reality of someone else: part of the other is always out of reach. This portrait will never be seen by its model, photography’s ability to construct and maintain a self-image is obstructed here. Poplawska extends alterity and identity crisis to global problems: we humans have to look long and hard in the mirror. The rapid decline of biodiversity is a fact and there is little doubt that our way of life is to blame. We share a parallel presence but are blind to what surrounds us. We seem unable to empathise with other lifeforms, other ways of thinking. These are still treated as natural resources to be exploited, which hinders meaningful interactions and coexistence. The solastalgic realisation that we degrade nature and are co-responsible for its decline, permeates Poplawska’s photographs. An image of a finger touching a flame suggests numbness and paralysis. The interior of a stately hall with a forest of marble-clad columns shows what remains once everything is transformed into material and status. Yet Fading Senses is more than a pessimistic lamentation, Ligia Poplawska invites us to abandon our delusional anthropocentrism to cultivate a truly sensitive outlook instead.

Text: Geert Goiris

Fading Senses
Research
Publication
2020


Self-published booklet containing thinking process and research behind ‘Fading Senses’.

Silent Signals
Photography
Project
2020


In ‘Silent Signals’ I reflect on uncertainty. It is a story where the elements marked by the brokenness of the Anthropocene fuse with fantasy and the ambiguities of the viewers memory. I treat photographic experience as an encounter of temporary stabilisation which provokes senses through synesthesia.

© Ligia Poplawska 2022

Mark