My interest in photography lies in its power to transcend representation. Looking at a photograph without immediately asking ‘what is it?’, ‘where was it?’, ‘who is it?’ is incredibly hard. Allowing yourself time to sit with the image without searching for or coming up with your own answers to these questions is even harder. Through my work I want to create a space that allows bodily engagement as much as intellectual. I believe that we live in a time where the mind is consistently placed higher than the body with culture, technology and language designed to make the mind their first priority. One of the reasons that art can have such a profound effect on people is that it has the potential to talk to both as a whole. Conventional photography as an art form can tend towards the cerebral. I push against this tendency in my work. I am always conscious of the affects the work creates, the embodied response or physically felt thinking in the viewer, and how it effects their relationship to the space in which they encounter the work. My interest in the notion of potential and the virtual/actual dichotomy underlies both my means of production and the diverse choice of subjects I work with. I look at the inability of actual human bodies to adapt the virtual world of digital communication, using film and video in Action Potential and Prototype wallpaper samples and silk scarves in Interior Profile. The leisure centres of Line of Flight suggest the civilising potential of human progress and the existential dilemma of leisure: ‘what do I actually do with my time?’. States presents us with a series of incongruous and unexplained diptychs, allowing infinite readings of what is going on. All of which are real but not actual, ideal but not abstract.
I will use the opportunity that the residency provides to produce a series of Large-scale photographic pieces of the environment and inhabitants of Bare Oaks and other works coming out of my research. The main works I plan to produce would be achieved by using a robotic camera that takes pictures from many different angles over a period of time. These are then stitched together to create an incredibly detailed panoramic image. Similar to the first image I have included. I would like to work with people at Bare Oaks and take photographs of them enjoying the facilities, unspectacular in their nakedness. I would also like to use the time to deepen my research into the various histories and philosophies surrounding naturism with the possibility of also creating some non-photographic works. I am particularly interested in naturism in relation to notions of utopia and reality. A brief look into its history shows that naturism has been consistently connected to movements, groups, communities and politics that veer towards utopianism or idealism. This can be evidenced by looking at the names of a few of the groups and publications: ‘Naked People: A triumph shout of the future’, ‘Men and the Sun’, ‘League for Free Body Culture’ ‘Organization for hygienic, ethical and aesthetic culture’. Where is it these grandiose words come from? How is it that being naked around other people has become an integral part of so many political, spiritual and (counter)cultural movements? What is it about being naked in the world that holds such power? I want to look at these questions from the point of view of the body. I want to investigate the idea that naturism is in part to be seen as a way of physically challenging the mind/body duality; that there is something fundamental about the bodily sensations of being naked in nature that breaks down the separation of humans from nature. I also want to look at the complicated and loaded history that this vital embodied experience has. For example how it has fed as much into nationalist and racist ideologies as it has into progressive and socialist movements. How is it that previous iterations of naturist movements could move so easily from connecting the body in nature to connecting the body to the nation state? Current political and cultural developments make this investigation imperative.
Jacob Love has worked as an artist for the past 12 years. His practice includes photography, movie image, design, installation and gogo dancing. Jacob studied BA Art Practice at University of the West of England and received an MA from Goldsmiths, has exhibited a wide range of work both in the UK and internationally, including a 2013 solo show at the Leslie Lohman Museum in New York. During 2016 he worked on a photochemical film and video project: Queering Hormones, Queering Love, organized by the British Film Institute, Facilitated by no.w.here lab and Kings College London and funded by the Wellcome Trust. He also worked on a community arts project for Margate Pride 2016 funded by the Arts Council. Since 2008 Jacob has also worked at Goldsmiths, University of London where I teach photography.