Creaturepede, 2004 measures six-metres in length. Such a large digital print challenges the audience with a juxtaposition of scale between the micro and macro; as if looking through a powerful lens, it appears we come face-to-face with a giant organism inhabiting an invisible, microscopic world.
This work is part of a series entitled Surface for air which was created as part of my Master of Philosophy research at the ANU. In this work I utilised my collection of readymade objects; miniature plastic animals that represent insects, reptiles and sea creatures and are no bigger than 3cm long; found inside a commercial chocolate brand.
Creaturepede is the result of flat bed scanning one of these objects and then manipulating the image in Adobe Photoshop to emulate electromagnetic microscopy technologies. This work is a precursor to my recent work Nanoplastica.
It reflects my ongoing interest in the relationship of print-media to scientific thought and the historical role prints have held in circulating and controlling information about the natural world, as well as the contemporary use of digital imaging to represent scientific processes and ideas. In relation to print and other multiple-based art forms, it may be that scientific concepts and language can change what we understand by the words 'original', 'copy' and 'multiple'.
By suggesting modern scientific technologies in this work, Creaturepede becomes a metaphor for the issues of vision, visualisation and replication of life forms on the microscopic and nano scale. Technologies provide this increasingly minute view of nature and this knowledge is widely disseminated through electronic media. By using replicas of animal and marine life, I am questioning the role of popular science in mediating and constructing our understanding of the natural world; causing us to ask if we really understand what we are looking at.
The scale of this work also reflects the concept of new technologies providing us with limitless possibilities. No longer are we bound to standard dimensions; we are released beyond the frame of an A4 laser printout or a computer screen. This creature is alive and eager, ready to wriggle and expand into any given space. But Creaturepede will never get away. A strip of patterning along the paper’s edge alludes to scientific data and DNA coding, however, on closer inspection we realise that the numerical measurements only serve to calculate ink density in the process of inkjet printing; a clue to the creature’s original medium.