Atlas Obscura (The Dictaean Cave)
Shifting radically from preceding series in terms of genre and methodology, Atlas Obscura (The Dictaean Cave) diverges from a minimalist and monochromatic aesthetic. However, certain aspects in this series perpetuate the visual singularity of Past, Future, Perfect (2007) - a much earlier body of photographic works - whereby the technicalities of production and modes of practice are analogous. With the use of image-editing software, multiple layers of digitally generated impressions are superimposed onto an amalgamation of sampled images which are subsequently printed on aluminium, mirror Dibond or on canvas. This leads to the digital creation - and adaptation - of new ornamentations and embellishments that accede to a final composition (akin to photomontage). The process is then completed by hand-drawn motifs in wax pastels and / or aquarelle to further illustrate an atmospheric realm with elements of other-worldly characterisations. A surface layer of structured Plexiglas (a prominent compositional component employed throughout previous series) is then positioned on top of several works to create a visual distortion, allowing the viewer to interpret the visualisations contained within the work whilst questioning concepts of perception and dimensional potentiality. This ‘screen’ becomes a metaphorical emblem (for the computer or mobile phone screen), and which alludes to the current age of technological advancement and how we, as a society, depend on technology to view the world around / beyond us.
A narrative of fantastical realities and supernatural realms are portrayed in this series as visual allegories pertaining to a person’s theory of reality and the determination of what they believe to be possible and plausible. The ancients believed in a universe of spirits and deities, of personified nature and the cosmos, and of exotic creatures. Their stories, populated with such realities, seemed credible to them and influenced their perceptions or observations of the everyday world around them. Where there is mystery and the unknown, humans have created various stories and scenarios to make sense of what lies beyond the known; humans have projected meanings onto the unknown. Myth, through awe and wonder, allows our mind to embrace the realms of the possible, the undiscovered and the transcendent.
As a side note: the ‘Dictaean cave’ is one of a number of caves believed to have been the birthplace or sanctuary of Zeus. Renowned in Greek mythology as the place where Amalthea (the she-goat nurse) nurtured the infant Zeus with her milk. The nurse of Zeus was charged by Rhea to raise the infant in secret here, to protect him from his father Cronus. When the god reached maturity he created his thunder-shield (the aigis) from her hide and the horn of plenty (cornucopia or keras amaltheias) from her crown. The archaeology attests to the site's long use as a place of cult worship and the mountains, of which the cave - rich in stalagmites and stalactites - are part, are known in Crete as Dikte.