Images shared on Instagram are rapidly consumed by the platform’s users. Artists feel constant pressure to produce a daily curation of powerful images; it is a place of extreme visibility where creativity is temporary and easily disposed of, yet highly desired. The screens on our phones can pull us down a rabbit hole of artistic insecurity, but the temporary validation that social media provides is addictive.
ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES is a collaborative photography project from Natalie Christensen (Santa Fe, New Mexico) and Jim Eyre (London, UK). The project is comprised 12 large scale images hung in a maze-like formation, video displays and interactive website (www.alteredstatesalteredscapes.com). Referencing a 1980’s horror film in which the main character submerges himself in a sensory deprivation pool and gets lost in visual dreamscapes, ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES makes public the psychological experience of viewing art on social media.
Christensen and Eyre met over Instagram and initiated a collaboration based on their ambivalence of using social media to view and share contemporary photography.
ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES was born from the artists’ main question: is the unrelenting momentum of the virtual space stifling their creativity or are they becoming better artists by the pressure to compete on a digital stage?
To create the final photographs, the artists passed their respective images back and forth via direct message. They digitally collaged these new works, shaping them layer upon layer. The images contain familiar tropes yet are oddly disorienting. Fragments of each artist’s work meld together, presenting subtle combinations of perspectives on a single visual plane, representing a malleable psychological experience. These artworks were created through a laborious, rigorous process to share with a global audience, knowing that those who view them do so in a split second and dispose of them with the flick of a thumb.
Launching at the 2018 Review Santa Fe Photo Festival, alteredstatesalteredscapes.com is an interactive website conceived by Jim Eyre and Natalie Christensen and was developed to allow users to experiment and play with the same process that the used to create their original composite photos for the ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES exhibitions. The artists are sharing elements of their own original photographs on the website and inviting you to choose a background scene and then layer on elements to create new ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES. Screenshot your creation and then upload to @instagram, tag #alteredstatesalteredscapes to continue the conversation about how social media impacts your creativity and artistic process.