An artist animates the relationship between the ocean and the internet

Reading Time: 3 mins

Andy Sewell’s photobook Known and Strange Things Pass reminds us how deeply enmeshed recent lifestyles and the virtual global are

Andy Sewell’s photobook Known and Strange Things Pass opens, moderately actually, with a dash: an summary symbol of seafoam flung throughout a transparent blue sky. The following complete {photograph}, this time black-and-white, depicts an electrical energy field of types whole with looping wires, gaffer tape and cool, gray steel. The pages between are clean, save for slices of pictures, not more than an inch thick, revealed on their edges; fragments of the pictures straight away sooner than and after. The method repeats during the guide, connecting photographs and permitting them to go thru the house of pages like wires, tunnels, or cables.

Known and Strange Things Pass investigates fibre optic cables wearing the internet between the UK and North America, comprising photographs Sewell made on either side of the Atlantic. However, we may additionally name it a visible find out about that puts the internet and the ocean in dialog, revealing them each to be unimaginably huge and in the long run unknowable in the procedure.

© Andy Sewell.

Sewell’s photographs arrive in waves during the newsletter. They transfer between the shore and the tides, the standpoint repeatedly moving. Sequences construct and crash, photographs repeat, and now and again there are virtually invisible nuances between one and the subsequent. One consistent is the ethereal, elemental surroundings of the seaside contrasted towards monochrome photographs of era, reminding us how deeply enmeshed recent lifestyles and the virtual global are.

A loose-leaf insert accompanies the guide, that includes an essay via creator Eugénie Shinkle and a chain of observations written via Sewell. One line from Sewell sticks out: “I will scrutinise this cable and be informed details about it,” he writes, “what number of terabytes are passing thru it according to 2nd, how lengthy it’s, I may even be informed who’s the use of it, what tales are flowing thru it — however that doesn’t make the reality of it…any much less mysterious.” Indeed, as audience, it’s unimaginable to not be mystified via the cables that populate Sewell’s photographs — via their energy, what number of 1000’s of miles they succeed in throughout, and, in the long run, how impossibly small their beginning issues are. How can the near-infinite quantity of information we create and transmit on a daily basis go back and forth thru those items, ostensibly unremarkable and constructed via human fingers?

© Andy Sewell.

Hands are a motif during the guide. Sewell captures them taking part in on telephones, clasping each and every different, achieving into the water and retrieving shells. Even the newsletter’s ultimate symbol depicts a tender lady’s hand drawing a curved line in the sand — the starting of a circle, most likely, looping us again to the place we started. In the finish, it’s contact and gesture that radiate from the paintings. Every symbol speaks of connection — virtual, invisible, bodily. It’s price noting that Sewell finished the undertaking all through the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, which provides some other layer to a guide with regards to the intangibles of conversation.

Sewell is these days displaying Known and Strange Things Pass at Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin, and right here once more, he’s considered the viewer’s adventure. He invitations his target audience to get shut to a few photographs and step again for others, using other sized prints and frames hung above and underneath eye degree. In the exhibition and photobook, Sewell proves that pictures is greater than a floor medium. It can conjure visible stories of the invisible and turn on parts of the global we might in a different way by no means see.

Known and Strange Things Pass is revealed via Skinnerboox. The exhibition is at Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin, till 30 October 2021.

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