16.12.2023 – 02.03.2024
TalentWall 9 - Invisible roots
The installation 'Invisible roots' by Pol Sangster consists of 5 photos in a glass container. They are photos of large trees in Rotterdam. Sangster collected fungi from sick trees that had to be cut down, added these fungi to the photos and then hermetically sealed the container.
“Since the Enlightenment, Western philosophers have presented to us a concept of nature that is universal and would always replenish itself for human use. Nature served as a backdrop and tool for the moral intentions of humanity, which could tame and overcome nature.
Geologists now refer to our era as the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human disturbance surpasses other geological forces. This term is still new and full of contradictions. Some see it as the triumph of humanity, but I see it the other way around: unintentionally and unplanned, humans have made a mess of our planet.”
“In ‘Invisible roots’ fungi lives together with my photos. In this way, the photographs I took are being taken by nature.”
“Over the past centuries we have convinced ourselves that we as humans are above nature. This has led to things like rising sea levels, large-scale deforestation and climate change. These things make me uncomfortable. Creating art helps me to better understand this state of discomfort. I visualize my feelings with photo projects.”
In his practice he uses the analogue photographic medium for various reasons. The slowness of analog techniques helps him slow down in this fast-paced, modern life. He likes to utilize the materiality of the medium to create deeper layers within his photographs. For another project, 'After it drowns', he photographed dikes that broke in 1953 and caused major floods in the southwest of the Netherlands. He put the negatives in a glass jar with salt water at exactly the same time that the polder was flooded. On his website you can see how biting the salt affected the photo print, affected the landscape.
Sangster was inspired by the following literature for the 'Invisible roots' project:
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World. On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2017)
Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think. Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human (2013)
Mitch Epstein, New York Arbor (2013)