Futility Collection by John Fox

The Futility Series

This series was inspired by the work “Mother and Child (Divided)” by Damien Hirst. My experience of the Hirst exhibition piece was one of interest as the details absorb you and then suddenly the impact of what you are staring at confronts you with an uncomfortable jarring reality. I love any art that make me feel and I wanted to recreate the experience through my own work.

I experience a similar feeling when star gazing. A telescope opens a world of detail and exploration. Suddenly you glimpse a fleeting approximation of infinity and your place within the universe. I find it to be both daunting and demoralising. I feel insignificant for weeks afterwards.

To share a similar experience with viewers I chose to shoot insects which have died. They have been shot to emphasise detail which draws you in and fascinates you. At some moment once you are absorbed, the reality of what you are looking at should confront you. This is an insect and it is dead. It is biology which has stopped. All the intricacies, cells and particles are there but it has stopped. What changed? What is the part which is now missing which has changed it from what it was to what it is now? Stopped.

Insects, as far as we know have no ambition, hopes or dreams. They are driven by incredibly base processes which govern their behaviour. Insects are vital to the working of the earth as a collective, but what about the one insect which dies on your window sill? What has he achieved, and what was his purpose? The brief existence has been futile. The difference or change to the world has been immeasurably insignificant.

On a larger scale are we any different? We like to think we matter, that we change the lives around us and that we will leave a legacy. I believe that demonstrates a lack of understanding of time and scale. I hope to communicate these feelings through a scale easier to comprehend by us which is the dead body of an insect.

We tend not to face death, and when we do we tend to glorify and romanticise it. It is very hard to consider our existence may be incredibly futile. The captions highlight the tragedy of death as well as the inevitable progression of the world left behind despite your departure. When we die we may be mourned, but the world moves inexorably on.

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