The anxiety of death and the pettiness of life

If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself. – Martin Heidegger

Following on from my work on the body in space and the perception of time, this work again hinges on the early philosophy of Martin Heidegger.

In his form of existentialism, he identified the relationship of man to space and time – and the fundamental difference from the mode of existence of ‘things’. Our knowledge of our own mortality differentiates us from all other things; he defines this as the temporality of human existence.

Investigation of the perception of mortality has increasingly influenced my approach to my work. As I live life and encounter the spectre of death in its varied forms, it has become less fearsome and more intriguing to comprehend its function in moulding the human psyche. Also fascinating is the symbolism
and visual and aural signifiers associated with mortality, the macabre and the fear of extinction. The iconic symbol of a swimming pool is a mixed metaphor where it can evoke both notions of glamour, wealth and leisure or something more sinister as drowning or suicide.

The installation presents a simple, swimming pool diorama (containing a looped projection as the water) and an ambient, but potentially hostile, soundscape. Through the duration of engagement with the work, the viewer may perceive narrative as metaphor, inviting a cocktail of serenity, violence and restitution.
As well as evoking a potent, emotional response, the work endeavours to address our perception of our own mortality, phobias and perhaps human existence itself.