Recycling consumerism discards to highlight nature’s fragility

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This bibliography comprises ten identified sources and perspectives, philosophical, historical, psychological, technical and aesthetic, which form a dialogue with the key themes of my environmental research, 'Recycling consumerism discards to highlight nature's fragility, offering fresh environmental perceptions. Selected sources: religious political motivations and associations, mass ideological indoctrination, societal desensitising and apocalyptic ecocide explain the current environmental crisis. Conversely, artists' practice sources inform how psychological reconnections to nature are possible through art. Art can transcend all.

Ansel A. 1985, Ansel Adams an Autobiography Thames and Hudson, London, (pp, 23,139,149)

In his autobiography, Adams describes the motivation behind his imposing images earning him acclaim as a visionary artist and conservationist. Government protection of the Sierra forests and the creation of new national parks are his legacies.

Adams' achievements are a complex but integrated process: discipline, a love of nature, inspirational poetry, his Zone system and the support of the Sierra Club. He attributes his legendary perfectionism to his music training: "…. if it's not perfect in everyway, it's wrong" (p.23).

My research is illuminated by Adam's conservation achievements and images. Just as my work seeks peaceful resolutions, he believed in both the possibility and the probability of humankind living in harmony and balance with its environment.

Benjamin, W. 1968, Illuminations, Theses on the Philosophy of History, pp. 256, 257, 258. Retrieved March 16 2011, from Monash University Library,

Philosopher, Walter Benjamin's essays disseminate the truism that an ongoing belief in historical events supports a 'servile mass bias indoctrination'. Benjamin points to religion as the perpetrator of a fear-based, unquestioning acceptance of historical perspectives. He emphasises how this manipulated response has strategically morphed into an environmentally compromised consumer ideology propagated by media-fuelled, exploitations for the benefit of a few.

Ironically, Benjamin illuminates his prognosis with allusion to the biblical literary device of the parable, encouraging reflection. So too does the title, 'Illuminations' with its dichotomous biblical reference reinforce the author's intent. Through vivid imagery the author illustrates how perceptions mould reality and why religious ingraining has created a vulnerable mind set allowing for insidious controls and a compromised environment.

Benjamin's pedagogic dissemination has global significance and relates to my research. Thus, the societal desensitising he describes and is supported by Guattari (2000) and Morris (1992) has illuminated new paths in which to challenge this historical mind set.

Burchfield, Jerry, (retrieved March 30, 2011)

Jerry Burchfield's evolvement of the Calotype paradoxically illuminates nature's complexity while celebrating its beauty. His work contributes to environmental issues by confronting an ideological mindset, providing a psychological reunion between a primordial nature and material society which views nature only as a resource.

Motivated by Fox Talbot's early 1800s cameraless images of botanical specimens and contemporary conceptual art practice, Burchfield's site specific research 'gives form to the beauty of fragile ecosystems' and offers a new code of values. Lumen images commit to a sense of integrity, loss, memory, and evoke psychological contemplation. In this way, the artist confronts Benjamin's ideological disassociation (1968) and transcends Guatarri's (2000) apocalyptic ecocide.

Burchfield's Lumen images articulate the qualities with which I strive to imbue my works. The advancement of cameraless images, working on-site directly from plant specimens, and a meaningful reconnection of people with their environment also informs my research.

Clarke, A. 1997. Oxford History of Art, The Photograph, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 187-205.

Within the analytical context of this chapter, the de-literalisation of photography and new visual codes of modernism including, Abstraction, Surrealism, Dadaism and Futurism, historian Clarke explores Man Ray's 1923 Rayogram innovation; the influences, motivation, versatility and inventiveness. Man Ray is identified as just one component in an overall force of radical innovators who inspired and influenced each other toward 'a metamorphosis of meaning'.


For educational purposes, Clarke describes Rayograms as 'derivative of Fox Talbot's process, but without Fox's literal representation' (p.188). However, he acknowledges the calotype's evolvement as "the creation of a distant world which has a mysterious otherness about it" (p.194). This encapsulates the outcome of Man Ray's innovation, where objects exposed onto photosensitive surfaces create shadow-images and transcend objectivity.

The Rayogram; where the manipulation of light can visually and philosophically alter meaning, informs my research. Man Ray's ghostly images of nature strategically slow the pace of environmental contemplation. His technical mastery transcends political motivations and associations.

Finch, Spencer: Harris, P, Spencer Finch, "The River That Flows Both Ways, on the High Line" Whitehot Magazine,| August 2009 (n.p.) Retrieved April 10, 2011, from

American artist, Spencer Finch's installation, The River That Flows Both Ways, 2009, portrays how a "…history of the river and the city are inextricably intertwined". This visual evocation illuminates a progressive metaphorical and psychological relationship between a built environment, nature and space, providing opportunity for further analysis.

Finch often uses subtle paradoxical diversity for conceptual emphasis. For example, The River That Flows Both Ways, employs transparent, reflective synthetic materials, scale, space and colour to merge nature and architectural forms

Finch's informed respect for the environment, his ability to combine technology and science with poetic aesthetics, and psychological elements which 'shape perception' have philosophical and visual relevance to my field of research. His large scale works are site specific.

Guattari Felix 2000, The Three Ecologies, Athlone Press, France. (Retrieved 19 March 2011 from

In this essay, philosopher, Felix Guattari examines environmental exploitation within an historical, ideological and societal context. Global ecocide is his prognosis, unless radical measures change mentalities,

Guattari's research exposes two forces responsible for destroying the natural environment: 'an out of control capitalistic consumerism ideology' empowered by the mass media that have gradually and effectively erased personal subjectivity eroding social relations and interactions, and the IWC's (Integrated World Capitalism) insidious 'penetration of people's attitudes, sensibility and minds'.

While Guattari's prescription of aggressive political agitation and apocalyptic predictions do not meet my conceptual requirement of peaceful harmonious solutions, his analysis of the current environmental crisis does. His illumination, 'Without modifications to the social and material environment, there can be no change in mentalities' (p.27) form the conceptual premise of my research.

Helg, Beatrice, (retrieved, April 10, 2011)

Photographer Beatrice Helg combines mathematical precision, music, and a strong focus on aesthetics in her staged assemblages of diverse materials. Her works are subjective explorations inviting psychological contemplation. Humans, although alluded to, are never physically present within ephemeral landscapes.

Her work, Emergence IV", 2008, is one example of assemblages where organic and inorganic materials merge in precise, geometrically balanced constructs. An orchestrated use of subdued, angled lighting creates an illusionary juxtaposition.

Helg's works emphasise the aesthetic. However, landscapes which only hint at human presence, the reflective and translucent materials, balanced dimensional spaces, and the transcendence of representation and subject matter align with my research.

Morris, M. 1992, "Critical reflections", Artforum, no. 30, no. 8, pp. 78-79. Retrieved March 31, from Monash University Library, http:/

In this article critic Meaghan Morris defines the role of cultural criticism as political mediation within a cultural, social and historical context. Three main viewpoints are discussed: how cultural values and ideological shifts occur, why acceptance of change is slow and dependant upon historical circumstances, and the influence of media and institutional power. Her ideas offer scope for present environmental and social dysfunctions.

Strategies for long term changes outlined to her target Artforum audience include: accelerating ideological shift through the mediation of cultural criticism, motivation and commitment to formal organisations, access to media, harnessing institutional power and long term planning. Her emphasis on the power of collaboration to accelerate change has been validated by recent academic studies, "achievement from swarming behavioural patterns" (Sheffield, M, 2004, Critical Paths to Achievement, Institute of Creative Enterprise, Cotton Tree, Australia (p.320).

However, Morris's statement that elements of criticism and politics can overlap but only operate as separate influences does conceptually counter my research where multi-layers of criticism and politics are merged to invoke transcending harmonious resolutions.

Farmanfarmaian, Monir Shahroudy,

archived/apt6/artists/monir_shahroudy_farmanfarmaian (retrieved March 18, 2011)

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmain's work entitled, Lighting for Neda demonstrates a poetic transformation of ancient traditions into contemporary art forms. Reflective visuals immerse the viewer in a subjective mental space.

The artist's technical skills and poetic sensibility are expressed by the evocative and harmonious fusing of all elements. The massive scale of her work heightens a psychological engagement for viewers and its presence transcends cultural diversities.

Farmanfarmian's process, where ancient elements are fused with contemporary practice, resonates with my research but such large scale works are linked to financial considerations.

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art 2007, Andy Warhol, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

The selected Andy Warhol image entitled, Shadows 1978 (p.273) is evocative, illustrating inventive technical advancement of diverse photographic and printing processes. Like other Warholian works, the image comments on societal values within a material world, metaphorically expressed by diamond dust and the green of American capital.

Merging old image making processes his subject matter is transitioned in ways which achieve conceptual meaning. His materials, colours, and derivative repetitious media marketing techniques also form a significant and psychological part of his research.

Warhol's comment on consumerism ideology, his inventive explorations and their unexpected use in relation to his subject matter to convey meaning fits in with my own technical investigations.