Mark Pearson, BA (Hons) Media Arts student talks about his work and experience at the University of Plymouth.

Artists Statement Dystopia

For me, the heart of photography is about light, chemistry and experimentation. Through this project, I reimagined the possibilities of photography by experimenting with the light sensitive chemistry of cyanotype on alternative surface materials such as glass, paper vellum and silk. For me, photography offers a particularly powerful way to connect with personal histories and the wider world. Dystopia is about my memory of a particular place in time, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.  

    I have been a photographer since the 1990’s and since then I have witnessed and documented historical events all over the world. There are always pictures that we forget about, or don’t appreciate at the time. As time goes by, the photographs become transformed, they gain in value and meaning, sentimentally and visually. And by drawing upon my images, particularly from Palestine, they now have more significance and meaning to me, especially since US President Donald Trump’s powder keg decision to recognise Jerusalem as the official state capital of Israel. 

I have reinterpreted my images from the Holy Land into objects and brought them into a physical space in a gallery context giving them new meaning and value. I wanted to create a layered photographic installation, like memories floating in a space, giving the viewer the sensation of looking into something rather than looking at something. 

By researching the significance of colour in early religious art I have been able to incorporate these codes into my art installation about the Holy Land. The cyanotypes on paper vellum are photographs that I have taken in post-conflict Gaza and show the suffering, poverty and damage to infrastructure caused after a war in the worlds largest open prison.