In the works Captive born and Losing my religion, Hayden Fowler explores the existent and alternative connections between industrialised humanity and the natural world. In an effort to dismantle historic and systemic power structures the artist produces poetic, ritual-based performances that re-imagine and model the future. Underlying Fowler’s practice are ideas relevant to this age of the Anthropocene that promote social transformation, such as inter-species and human-geological relationships.
In Captive born, an Australian dingo is confined within an antiquated zoo exhibit. This highly sentient creature is a metaphor for contemporary humanity alienated from nature. The dingo also acts as a living gateway to a vanishing but still remembered wildness. Untouched and undiminished by human domestication the dingo retains its instincts, which connect it to an ancestry and spirit of a much deeper past. The enclosure references the more recent history of human domination and expansion, symbolised in botanical and zoological collections that are faded remnants of the Enlightenment era. Isolated within it’s concrete habitat, the animal’s gaze communicates a resistance to subjugation.
The artist has hand-sewn into the coarse material of vintage army blankets the words ‘Losing my religion’. The blankets are patched together to the approximate size of the human body, alluding to our rudimentary need for warmth and comfort. In pairing Losing my religion with Captive born, the work is expressive of the artist’s spiritual relationship to the natural world.
Captive born 2020
Single channel, digital moving image
Duration: 5:00 min loop
Losing my religion 2020
Hand stitched, army blankets