From July 12 to October 13, Foam Amsterdam will be showcasing the work of cross-disciplinary artist Dominic Hawgood (1980, United Kingdom). Titled Casting Out the Self, Hawgood’s exhibition is inspired by the effect of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a drug he personally experienced as ‘“a transfer into the digital realm”. This series heightens a delusory environment where both physical and digital worlds meet.
“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.
The exhibition Casting Out the Self by Dominic Hawgood opens on July 12 and will be on view until October 13 at Foam, Keizersgracht 609, Amsterdam.
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Cosmic Chakra, 2016 © Dominic Hawgood
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Infinite Wisdom, 2016 © Dominic Hawgood
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CG visualisation, 2019 © Dominic Hawgood