THE FALL OF ICARUS
Working between the digital arts and materiality Nacoca Ko questions how we operate as a link between technology and nature.
Digital art in the form of photography, sculpture, and video installation explore how we find our footing at the cliff of acceleration. What worlds do we build, when the future is in the past, and we navigate through lost horizons? Through this distortion in a time of social distancing, she relates her personal reality from external landscapes into the landscape of the Internet and the anxious landscape of her own mind. As a kind of footnote, in the tradition of Breughel the Elder’s painting, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” the hero that romanticises progress drowns unnoticed in the waves of Deep Time.
Taken all in one continuous panoramic shot, each image uses a weakness in the media, breaking the autonomous nature of digitisation to push the photograph through my own agency. The composition is established at that moment, as my hands and body create a visual rhythm. This camera, always with us, has become a transhuman extension of ourselves, and through it we release the feelings of anxiety and disruption caused by a Great Acceleration. The sky, dragged down along with Icarus, is experienced through eyes of the future that can see new colors, or the chemicals that have evaporated into the atmosphere. Living at the wall of singularity, everything around us moves exponentially- we fall into vertigo, robbed of prediction and stability. We transcend, or fall, without knowing what we are becoming.
In the first experiments, quick speedy movements resulted in bodies dismembering, and the landscape sliced into strips of disjointed information. But ironically as Covid-19 began to impose a “Great Pause,” the panorama’s suggestion to “Slow Down” was heeded, and the speeds were alternated. This created the fractured landscapes appropriate to a time of unhindered progress, marked by a pandemic brought about by human bio-technology and globalism. Taking social distance outdoors, trees fell over cliffs, buildings deconstructed, nature repeated in patterns like a hijacked software program, and reality folded and unfolded in a strange unified origami.
In these panoramic images a broken tower, a disrupted electric cable, old and new architecture, farmed animals, signs of terraforming in the Anthropocene, tiny humans in leisure or discovery, all appear in ignorant juxtaposition with the great landscape as it morphs irreversibly into something artificial and inharmonious.
The series is titled after Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s work, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.” Landscape paintings have an aesthetic dimension that value unity and coherence, something that may help us artistically find our way back from the voids of contemporary problems, to feel a connection with that causal dimension, acting within the whole. Much of his work gave the sensation that life continues mundanely, regardless of the sacred and tragic. It delivers us to a moment much like our own- the looming ships of consumerism sail in from the horizon, as Icarus, the hero of progress, drowns unnoticed.
NACOCA KO 2021