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My Week With A Cyborg

Film and Installation

Approx 45 minutes, looped

2021

Exhibited as part of Emergence

Awarded Outstanding Exhibition by De Montfort University

I don’t recommend you turn to writers of fiction for such information. It’s none of their business. All they’re trying to do is tell you what they’re like, and what you’re like - what’s going on - what the weather is now, today, this moment, the rain, the sunlight, look! Open your eyes: listen, listen... All they can tell you is what they have seen and heard in their time in this world, a third spent in sleep and dreaming, another third of it spent telling lies. 

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

 

Fiction, and this kind of work is a fiction, is just lying. Or a repurposing of the truth. Seeing something and passing it through a particular filter until it is warped and then moulding it back into a kind of recognisable shape, and putting it back on the display shelf. The voice of the lie is the voice of the world but through a different mouth. Far away from reason or necessity is the poetic lie. It’s a re-telling through a hazy red glaze.
We fit ourselves into pixelated spaces that we do not need to understand the mechanics of. Check into Carrier Hotels, customise our characters, and speak or are spoken to. Every minute lived leaves a footprint. We choose to draw a line around each step, photograph it, annotate it, archive it, bring it out of its box to have conversations in bright glossy rooms with labels on the walls.

My cross-disciplinary practice is rooted in my fascination with the ever-growing world of technology and the internet, and the kinds of performances that take place in these digital environments. I make work that investigates constructed identity in relation to the habitation of digital spaces, online phenomenon, technology as power, and the artist’s relationship with fiction. My practice is self-referential - through the making of my artwork I analyse my own practice, position and output; this happens during the making and is realised in the presentation of the work.

My Week With A Cyborg is an installation and 45 minute film. The installation is a faithful recreation of my at home artist’s studio that has been reconstructed within the gallery. As well as being the space in which I work and edit, this space was also used as a film set for the accompanying film, My Week With A Cyborg.
My Week With A Cyborg is a 45 minute looped narrative vlog sci-fi thriller that tells the story of YouTuber, Zoe Knight, as she spends a week with cyborg, Hercy B, as part of an influencer marketing campaign. Hercy B Enterprises have created the world’s first cyborg assistant and they are ready to send her out to the public. However, during Zoe’s week with Hercy B, her life is turned upside down as she realises there may be more to her new cyborg friend than meets the eye. Zoe, a self described reporter, sets out to uncover the truth about Hercy B Enterprises.
The film explores the relationship between fiction and reality. The perspective of the film is ambiguous. Whilst at points the viewer is confronted with the recognisable format of a YouTube vlog, this familiarity and trust in the form is removed when the fourth wall is broken, revealing the layers of filmmaking process underneath. Hercy B and Charlotte Ives are both the creator and the created- and so is the artist.
With the film situated essentially within the reconstructed artist’s studio, the layers of fiction and reality become more apparent. Whilst the recreation of the studio is faithful to its natural state, the state itself is not honest. The studio is fictionalised before it entered the gallery. The studio became halfway between artist’s workspace and on screen film set, with elements remaining from each. Neither of these cancels out the other, they exist together as fact and fiction, construction and happenstance.

My practice aims to interrogate my experience as an artist through the use of transmedia storytelling. I am exploring fiction, narrative, pretence and gender through an anti-capitalist and post-cyberfeminist lens. My work is imbued with a questioning of what labour means in both a wider sense, and in the making of my own work. The politics of labour are not absent from the creation of artwork and its involvement in the greater landscape of the art institution. My practice is about making; what I have made, what I will make, why I make, how I see myself during making, how I see myself in relation to how others will see me after making. In approaching the process of making through an analytical and curatorial perspective, the work goes through a number of filtration processes in which it grows into its eventual home within the gallery. When artwork is situated within this space it exists within the pre-existing conditions of the art institution, and these conditions contribute directly to the fabric of the work- rather than as something happening around it.