Examples of works from the Anima Mundi project, made during my recent AA2A residency at Liverpool Hope University. The project title is a reference to the ancient hypothesis of an intrinsic connection between all living things: the existence of the Earth’s soul.
In autumn 2015 a synchronistic encounter with a bountiful oak tree led me to decide to plant a collection of acorns. I anticipated that new approaches would emerge from the meditative activity of planting and nurturing the seedlings during the winter months.
I worked with a variety of materials and media and including a collaboration with a local cabinet maker. We made a piece reminiscent of the wartime ‘Enigma’ machines, to reference human attempts to encode and decipher the world through language, data collection and processing. Do we risk becoming detached from the natural world and desensitised to its power and mystery? Is it possible to regain authentic sensory experience, to rediscover a symbiotic relationship with animate nature?
Other pieces were more light-arted, decorative and playful. Glass showcases became greenhouses, ‘growbags’ and mazes hosted tiny living oaks and a series of prototypes trialled ways to package ‘art’ seedlings, as they await their chance to live a long life and become beautiful oak trees. The acorn seedlings literally gave life to the works.
The project continues to grow.
Working with cabinet maker Stuart Williams, in his workshop near Garstang, Lancashire