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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Diane Vincent and the Environmental Reset Button

"Every Tuesday I would walk in a park in the middle of Berlin, starting before sunrise, following rabbit holes, branches and my inner voice. I play with the imagery of the pinecone, to refer to the world within; to their seeds, which are housing many possibilities; to the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland in the brain, which has the shape of a pinecone…"

This is the rationale behind  Diane Vincent's new book, within the pine cone i take rest. It's a meditative book on the world created by walking as part of the natural world. Made meditatively in handmade fashion in an edition of 25, it has a dual pricing system for those who are better off and those who are not so well off.

I love the sentiment. It's one of meditation, of losing yourself in the shapes, in the textures, in the smells of the twigs, the leaves, the earth, the air, and becoming the world of which we are part.

It's a sentiment at the heart of All Quiet on the Home Front, and it's evident here in quiet and gentle images of Vincent's quiet wanderings, wanderings in which there is a loss of self, and so a gaining of self.

The idea,is that we are fragmented beings, that our ideas of what it is to be a person, to be human, are sidelined by constant assaults from a comodified and codified world. And we are not commodified or codified beings, this is just false consciousness taking over.

The natural environment provides a primal reset button that operates with elemental basics that go beyond a fabricated identity. The more we reset that button, the more we are part of the world around us, rather than imagining ourselves riding on top of it like some supremacist controller (who actually has zero control as we can see from the world around us), the happier we are, the better the world here, the less dick-like we become. I wish I could live in that reset state all year round, but alas, like Vincent I have to settle for the small tastes of environmental freedom that I can get.

This fragmentation is echoed in the accompanying jigsaw that comes as a sideline to the book. I like jigsaws (the Google Street View of the Analogue World, I like their fragmentary nature and I see this jigsaw (and other jigsaw/photography crossovers such as this one by Alma Haser - which links to that idea of the fragmented self) as being part of an increased interest in the fragmented, deconstructed and reconstructed image. You see it here, in very direct landscape-identity manner that though it appears ephemeral is very grounded in the inescapable reality of consciousness and attention. You see it in the rise of the archive and its deconstruction, reconstruction, decontextualisation and recontextualisation. And you see it in the ongoing interest in collage and image manipulation (the artist who has given me most simple that-looks-fun pleasure this year is Kensuke Koike and his image cutting, eye-switching, hole-punching, pasta-stripping manipulations).

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