Can you relate? 2016

Redbank plains shopping centre - Ipswich - Queensland


acrylic,powder-coated aluminium

460 X 1400 X 55 cm

Recent experiments by Dr. Jay Neitz of the University of Washington into colour blindness have revealed some interesting possibilities regarding colour perception in individuals. As a result of research into colour blindness and specifically experimental gene therapy trialled with Squirrel Monkeys - a monkey that sees only in blue and green - it has been hypothesised that 'colour perception emerges in our brains in response to our experiences of the outside world, but that this process ensues according to no predetermined pattern'[1]. In other words we all receive the same colour information into our eyes but how our eyes and then our brain perceives this information is completely dependent on the individuals physical condition as well as their experience and what they have 'learned' as a result.

Philosophers have argued about the nature of perception and its relation to 'real' events and experience since time immemorial, various schools espouse theories ranging from a Sceptical disbelief of everything to a Mechanistic/Rationalist description of pure process. The existence of these disparate views reinforces a fundamental understanding of what it is to be human, that we share a common world but relate to it in different ways.

Each of us perceives the world in our own way, as a result of both our experience, and our genetics. In spite of these differences we find ways of relating to each other and ways of expressing our commonality and ways to form complex communities. It would seem that a fundamental part of our nature compels us to discover ways of relating to each other, to communicate with each other and to discover the things we hold in common. How a community forms a cohesive whole while still allowing each individual to express their uniqueness is the great difficulty faced by all communities.

The work 'can you relate?' quite literally reflects the community that exists around it. Each individual will see multiple reflections of themselves in the work but these reflections are various colours and a distortion of their 'real' self. While they are seeing themselves they similarly see reflections of those who are in the space around them; the 'I' becomes part of the 'us'. The modular nature of the form employed allows for the work to adapt to the space in which it is located.

1 Dolgin, Ellie - 'Colour blindness corrected by gene therapy', Nature, 16 September 2009

Commissioner - Alceon Capital/Ipswich City Council

Curator - Urdan Art Projects

Fabricator - Urban Art Projects

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