“A strange odour prevailed as I inhaled the acrid smoke from the pipe, and fought to keep it down. Eyes closed, bronchi tingling, a low humming commenced as I rested with my head on my knees, and my heartbeat melted away… Darkness promptly followed, then exquisite light. Turning to the side, I glimpsed a face dissolve into geometry, the voice crystal clear, razor sharp. This was ultra high definition, a new mathematical perspective, the digital realm”, the artist mentions in the introduction of his exhibition about the psychedellic experience of taking DMT.
Dominic Hawgood, a graduate from the London’s Royal College of Art’s prestigious photography MA, makes work that merges moving and still images whereby he tries to play with the viewer’s perception. As the imagery seems to move, flat surfaces reveal hidden depths while the perception of space turns out to be an illusion. Focusing on site-specific installations, he pushes the boundaries of art and representation further, not only photography-wise but also by exploring new creative potentials of future media.
With Casting Out the Self, Hawgood aims to explicitly capture the ambivalence of the digital world we live in: the magic of infinite possibilities contrasts sharply with our brief attention span, information overload, persistent distraction, loneliness and seclusion. As a result, the growing popularity of hallucinatory drugs in the West reveals a growing demand for spiritual experiences in a highly digitised world in which we find ourselves increasingly disconnected from our environment.
Hawgood responds to this societal development by connecting rituals associated with spirituality with the ‘rituals’ of digital practices such as CGI (computer-generated imagery), photogrammetry and 3D-rendering – new technologies that are fundamentally changing the way we use photography and altering the ways we experience and understand the world we live in.