Subjectivity and objectivity oscillate in interesting ways when one looks closely at the natural systems that make up our world. Aspects that may at first appear fixed and unchanged by the human world take on personal and fungible features when closely observed. This has been my experience in my investigations of trees, wind and most significantly, water.
Much of my artwork begins with a quasi-scientific approach. I measure volumes and speeds and depths and so on, creating lists of data from which I build projects. That information, which is for the most part taken as objectively as possible, gives shape to my sculptures, drawings, videos and photographs.
Taking readings of the turbidity of water over many years in many locations has developed into a series of videos and photographs that makes use of that phenomenon. In the video Underwater in Connecticut, Norway, Ireland and Alberta, made in 2018, I used an underwater camera attached to a collapsible fishing rod to capture video in sixteen locations that I visited that year. The videos are filled with information about the clarity of the water, the angle of the light, weather conditions, currents, and plant life. All of that enriches the experience of viewing the video, but the reason that it works for me comes at around minute 1:20, when all of the jumbling and chaos of the sixteen views coalesce and we are simply gliding through sixteen depths of water in a kaleidoscope of colors. The fluidity of subjectivity and objectivity is there.
Water is a basic requirement for human life, and as we are seeing, it is a more and more politicized and scarce commodity. By addressing the slippage between our subjective and objective views of nature, and specifically of water, I hope to help relocate our sense of self – to expand our collective idea of what needs to be treated with the human concern that we afford ourselves.
Fritz Horstman, June 2020