Waiting for the Natural to be Turned On
Waiting for the Natural to be Turned On is part of an ongoing body of work that considers the human relationship with nature, how it is domesticated and how it is everywhere, even in the most urban of spaces.
This work takes its starting point from the painting The Great Cascade at Hestercombe by Bampfylde, 1762 and another image from the archives at Hestercombe where a group of spectators await the turning back on of the waterfall. This spatial projection aims to ask the viewer to question their perception of nature and knowledge of what is truly natural. Human intervention is everywhere and there is so little that is purely natural. Landscape is formed from human interaction and the traces of them are everywhere. This work is visual journey which layers and collages together footage of plants and water from within the gardens and intertwining materials found in the studio and architectural spaces. This work highlights the similarities between the way we build and adapt as humans to how nature grows and evolves. Hand made collages are woven into the imagery and the footage goes in and out of focus.
The work also draws from the history of framing within gardens used as a device to draw the viewer to the next vantage point. The projection intended to be viewed from in-front references theatrical sets and landscape painting. Throughout the work there are reoccurring shots that incorporate perforations and geometry to frame and obscure the view. It is intended to be hypnotic and disorienting to suggest that we can find balance within the fragmentation of our experiences and memories of spaces we spend time within in real life and with amidst the abundance of digital media we swim through every day.
As part of this ongoing research project Sally Stenton and Susie Olczak led a series of workshops at, the first was for the Royal College of Art and then a public workshop called How To Live Together which invited the non-human (plants) into the process of making-together with participants.
Cyanotypes, screen-prints, digital photographs and tape
59.4 x 42 cm
These works took the planting plans from the archive at Hestercombe as their starting point and across the series they fragment, grow and adapt. The works sit between abstracted botanic drawings, architectural plans for new constructions for the future, where plant life intertwines with the urban, microscopic views of crystalline structures and laboratory specimens. They refer to maps or cosmic views through the telescope or the telescopic image itself. Scale is intended to be ambiguous. The works layer up images taken from the gardens of Hestercombe alongside, cyanotypes produced within the gardens using plants that had fallen on the ground- sealing the photographic reaction within the bodies of water on site.
The works intend to ask questions about the artificiality of nature, about urban expectations of the natural and to offer an overall suggestion of ideas of adaptation, of nature's ability to thrive, especially when nurtured. They intend to offer a positive outlook that nature will continue to evolve despite the increasing difficulties in relation to climate change.