Naomi Ellis

Three Clay Fragments Dancing (2016)

Louis D'Arcy-Reed

what i mean to say and what i've always tried to say (2016)

Emma McNamara

Harvest (2013)

Embrace The Past, Forget The Future

Albert Einstein famously said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” This is, of course, referring to the ever growing advancements in nuclear warfare, both in Einstein’s life span as well as our own, and how ultimately the human race will destroy itself and have to start over from the beginning. This type of reflection, on the past, present and future societies of our world, served as the basis for isthisit?’s 34th online exhibition, titled ‘Embrace The Past, Forget The Future’. Naomi Ellis’ video piece ‘Three Clay Fragments Dancing’ utilises an eBay listing for Bronze Age clay pot fragments as a case study to discuss ideas of virtual time distortion and object history. For the duration of the film the fragments, having been projection mapped onto wet clay, are slowly manipulated and moulded, which becomes a visual representation of the choreographed narratives that are fabricated by eBay sellers to promote and sell their questionably legitimate historical products. Accompanying this methodical break down of a pot from the past is Emma McNamara’s increasingly painful film ‘Harvest’. The work sees a heavily pregnant woman from the future, hooked up to a machine that resembles a prop from any number of Cronenberg films, an envisioning of the Orwellian future to come. It’s not clear whether the relationship between woman and machine is a mutually beneficial one, with each of the participants in this bizarre ritual in a succumbed state of narcolepsy. The backdrop to the two videos is a print from Louis D’Arcy Reed, which comes from a series of works titled ‘what i mean to say and what i've always tried to say’. The series attempts to engage the viewer in various narratives, meditations on the everyday by utilising inspirational quotes and memes juxtaposed with desert landscapes that inspire contemplative moments. In this instance, the quote hanging over this exhibition is ‘Destroy Yourself’, which encourages the viewer to consider where the world is going, and the different ways that we can deal with this post-Trump, post-Snowden, post-truth world.

Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight