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Mark Dion micro/macro annotation

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Mark Dion’s project, Roundup, for the 1992 exhibition ‘Fragile Ecologies’ addresses the problem of the human culture filter, and how it has resulted in ‘nature’ being perceived as a separate entity. The project, which consisted of a ‘bug hunt’, was both created and exhibited within the context of an art museum - a site which is typically expected to be devoid of organic life. His findings of multitudes of insects and microscopic life demonstrates a reminder of the reality of human limits and control. He states that “by enhancing our limited vision through the advancement of optics in botany, geology, zoology and medicine, we have attempted to bring ourselves to a better understanding of nature. Ironically this also emphasises our separation from it.” In our attempts to make the invisible visible, we have consequently made strange of the everyday.

This fluctuation between the micro and the macro is also apparent within my own practice. The lumen prints I created using organic matter such as seaweed have a uniquely mutable appearance. They have a simultaneous likeness to both cosmological and microscopic images, especially when viewed without knowledge of the subject matter. It brings into question our sense of perception, and how we exist in the world that surrounds us. “By shifting our focus we can be reminded that we are inalienably part of an ecology - we are constructed by and construct the world around us.”

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