Extract of ‘phantom hurt’ video

Running time: 5 minutes of 08:00:00 (full running time)

phantom hurt. Video work shown at Gallery25, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 2-22 July, as part of the ghosted matter/phantom hurt (and other chimera) installation, and as part of the disquieting domesticities/vestiges of violence (regenerations) installation. Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 30 September-10 December 2022.

The impressions featured in phantom hurt (2019-2021) were made using an experimental method of applying bacteria onto casts of domestic objects made from agar. Once the agar had solidified, I painted live, naturally pigmented, mildly pathogenic bacteria onto their surfaces. Inscribed into, imprinted onto, or infused with the translucent jelly-like substrate, the bacteria grew unpredictably and uncontrollably in response to the patterns or surface applications that I, as the artist, attempt to create for them. In both instances, rather than being the product of my creative efforts alone, the work is made through collaboration between the micro-organisms and myself; they happen ‘with’ the agencies of the microbes in a dynamic process of organic exchange. Photographs of the agar impressions were edited using animation techniques to visually simulate or suggest the growth patterns and movements of the microbes in imaginative ways. Transitions between images were orchestrated to evoke a sense of the agar moving from it its fluid, viscous state into solidity.