THESE MOMENTS EXISTED
These Moments Existed is a photography and contemporary jewellery project created from September 2012 – September 2013, which explored everyday moments with an air of ambivalence and melancholy.
It’s a fact that many people in the developed world currently live in an image-saturated and social media-addicted society. Sim is interested in exploring her personal experience of this. Part of that exploration is an attempt to cut through the saturation and find meaning by creating a significant body of work including well-crafted art jewellery, all the while consciously contributing to the ever-growing content overload generated by personal objects like the iPhone, which continually feed into this massive communication network of blogging, posting and sharing online. It seems hard to find a moment to stop and think what it all means and to fully reflect on the effect it has on our everyday. These devices now heavily shape the way we communicate and interact with each other and it’s potentially made people slightly more neurotic and compulsive as a result. What is the relevance of sharing an individual’s everyday experience and why do we choose to document what we do?
What is the importance of capturing these ubiquitous moments? What does it say about our place in contemporary society and culture? Does the world really need to know what we ate/did/saw today – probably not? However, as artists and craftspeople, we continually investigate these questions through art and in doing so, question current practices, process and outcomes. Perhaps the mundane can still continue to be transformed and made precious, or at the very least, continue to inspire valuable things that would never otherwise exist.
The jury is out as to whether these things really make life more meaningful or not, especially given so much of the output is added as unfiltered content like Facebook and Instagram etc. It’s now such a part of our everyday that it’s hard to consider that it could ever wind back and that things could slow down. Quite the contrary – the future is likely to promote the creation of more content more quickly.
These Moments Existed was a new collection of work including photographs, paper necklaces and jewellery made primarily from recycled Australian hardwoods.
The project began by using an iPhone4 to document random daily experiences and interactions over one year and represent momentary snapshots; fleeting pauses in time. The digital photographs were then used as inspiration for creating new, intimate contemporary jewellery objects from wood that respond to the everyday snapshots.
The Instagram photographs were black and white digital images and presented for exhibition in a more traditional format as iPhone4 sized prints in rows in a grid, presented month-by-month starting in September 2012. Their appearance imbued the photographs and overall installation with nostalgia and reflected on our desire to pause and capture time. This is also a direct homage to my 2008 Masters thesis exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things, which saw a piece of jewellery made each day for one year. Unlike the former, These Moments Existed was much more ambivalent in its intention. Being a photograph rather than a piece of jewellery made each day, it reflected the time-poor environment many people currently live and work in today.
The project also echoed the modes many people were using to capture and connect with each other--the smart-phone specifically referenced the iPhone4 screen dimensions. In contrast, the wood and paper jewellery represented the sentiment of things past and time lost. The collection of paper necklaces was hole-punched from a printed paper copy of the digital photographs. These pieces attempted to transform ordinary source material into precious, public jewellery objects that, for the most part, only mean something personal to the maker. They are conceptual pieces that, on the one hand, comment on the practice of contemporary jewellery by using alternate materials to create wearable jewellery; however, on the other hand, they are made from paper and are ephemeral and won't last if they’re worn. Like a traditional photograph and memory, they will fade and disintegrate with time, yet the digital traces of the original image will remain and likely outlive the object.
The brooches represented thoughts and memories--the remnants left behind of time lived. They were created intuitively; subconsciously inspired by the images taken and made concurrently with the evolution of the photographs taken each day, transformed in Photoshop then archived and printed.
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