âDesign for Art Direction
Lockdown came at the point in my life where I had just renounced social media and was set on putting all my effort into real life experiences and interactionsâ¦ So when physical contact wasnât allowed anymore, it felt like the universe was playing a sick, cruel joke on my mental health. I also felt like I couldnât continue with what I loved doing most, photography, which involves working on sets with multiple people and being dangerously close to models. I began having doubts about my creativity because was I going to be able to rise to the challenge and work from home
âOn ânormal daysâ I am usually existentially anxious; anxious about socialising, anxious about relationships, and anxious about wider society in general and specifically, societyâs relationship with technologies. At the start of my DPS year, I made notes on what my initial ideas were for my Final Major project work, and the scenarios I proposed for it strangely sorta came trueâ¦ Here are some of the notes:
Does the notion of being in individual pods (houses) with no physical contact with others sound familiar? Now Iâm no scientist predicting a bio-catastrophe/pandemic, but as a student of cultural theories and a technology user, my mind constantly predicts outcomes of humanityâs trajectory in regards to technological use. Drawing from my research of the likes of Mark Fisher and his capitalist realism work, the ongoing technological versus cultural determinism debate, and more, I canât help but think society is on a path to a dystopian, technologically-mediated future.
Pre-lockdown, as an exploration into these ideas, I created work for a Shutterstock x Lecture In Progress competition (which I won first place for and won a new Mackbook, above), and it was centred around these themes of tech, data, the anthropocene. My academic interests lie strongly in these areas. I am very interested on societal effects on the human body and mind, initially obsessed with race and gender studies, it expanded to include technology due to how ingrained it is in society.
This DPS year really gave me the space and time to go even further into the theoretical side of things, but also to manifest that study into practical work/art. Iâve been able to grow my design and photography skills while grounding what I create in theory. My work has always tried to be conceptual but I really feel like itâs more so, now. Examples of the work Iâve been making in lockdown:
Doing a Lockdown version of my first photo zine, Life is Terrifying, which I got printed earlier this year. The lockdown edition is to be called Life is Limitless here are some drafts, open to collaborations, and pictures of the first version Life is Terrifying (scans below).
Lockdown, not just DPS, has allowed me to also further my other hobbies that had been lacking, and I gave into self-portraiture as well. I always said, before all this, that I just needed a little bit of time, for the world to stop for a few days, so I could get my shit together, in a funny way itâs like my prayers were answered. (As opposed to thinking in the beginning that the world was playing a cruel joke on me. I really feel that I have grown up a lot this year, and Iâve gained key perspective on dealing with life changes. With Lockdown especially, I have had the opportunity to sit back and relax and just experience life, as the rest of the world is having to do for what seems like the first time in a global lifetime.
Far from a rest though, a few weeks into lockdown, I was brushing up on my skateboarding skills and had a fallâ¦ and broke my collarbone into two pieces. Initially, I didnât think my bone was broken, I just thought it was bruised and that thinking continued for a good 2 WEEKS. In those two weeks, I shot some of my best work in pain, in lockdown with my dominant arm bone, broken; with my right collarbone snapped in half.
âDuring this resting period I bought some art books to occupy myself with while I was bed-ridden, one of them was filmmaker/photographer Alex Pragerâs Silver Lake Drive. Prager is probably my all time favourite photographer, and she wrote in the book that her photography is a tool for portraying her fears and anxieties. This inspired me to create a photo series (below) about my anxieties over screen time - the amount of time spent using a device with a screen. Weâre having to live our normal lives, inside, via technology. Itâs scary to me. Screentime/screamtime is inspired by the glowing of phone screens, TVs, laptops, is the real virus, IT BURNS TO LOOK. *hollywood scream*
Through experimentation with LED lighting I managed to capture the concept I wanted for the series. Moods and fears of online interaction, especially now that all social interaction and information about the rest of the world is only available by being subjected to the glow of screens.
On a less moody note, I have tried to use my screen time for some good. For Charitee/FCT! The idea came at the start of lockdown when I was feeling super down about the state of society and scared for vulnerable groups being forgotten. The Homelessness crisis has always been something Iâve wanted to help with however I could (my charity shops of choice have always been Crisis or Shelter shops); FCT came about because I wanted to sell something for the purpose of donating the profits to Shelter charity. I shared the idea with my boyfriend and after multiple phone conversations about it, and realising the pun potential in the word âcharityâ, FCT was born. For our first capsule, I designed two different tees with "wake up call" being the theme. It was nice to take a break from negativity and to do something, anything, to help those most vulnerable in these terrifying times.
LINKS: https://www.instagram.com/forcharitee/ | âhttps://everpress.com/forcharitee
So although my anxieties remain, right now, tamed beneath the surface, Iâve been more open to adapting this new normal and subjecting myself to screens, however itâs not to say I donât have my own rules and boundaries about my screen time, and I will continue to critique it while engaging with/in itâ¦
ONLINE PORTFOLIO: https://daniellac-archive.myportfolio.com