Wayne Cosshall

The Time and Space series represents a critical turning point for me in my art practice.


The series started out as still images created as part of my PhD studies. I was interested in exploring how spiritual and esoteric tropes from the Western Mystery Tradition were being used in new media art and how these tropes could inspire and extend my own art practice. The photographs were taken either from a moving car with a mounted camera shooting out of a side window, or with the camera handheld or around my neck. Ten sequential shots were then layered in Photoshop and blended to simulate a multiple exposure to produce each final image.


I sought to capture the idea of  'order out of chaos' by shooting at random, using a timer that triggered at fixed intervals, usually in the 5 to 15 second range. The appearance of emerging structural elements in the layered images fascinated me. The rural images produced interesting meta landscapes, and the urban images likewise exposed a meta level of reality. Trees feature in several of the images and suggested new ways to explore the tree as a core metaphor of a number of spiritual traditions in my artmaking.


The images also play with metaphysical ideas of time. New media art has largely overtaken the 'decisive moment' of Cartier-Bresson's famous phrase, although the action of the shutter in any case necessarily occurs over a period of time (one thirtieth of a second – a quite commonly used shutter speed – could encapsulate the entire lifetime of a chemical reaction, for example. In contrast, the long time-exposure of astrophotography requires a shutter speed of several hours). In Time and Space I blend a succession of single 'moments'  to create a meta moment that represents a transition from the still to the moving image.



I then applied the same process to video. Each long video sequence was layered ten times, but with the video offset in each layer of footage. This approach allowed me to explore cyclical concepts of time. The video works are less resolved, but they served as the starting point for The Tree of Everywhere and so are included here to illustrate the evolution of my process.