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Colette Sarjano Utama McDonald

Colette works in a variety of media, including collage, drawing, sound, text, video, and performance, to explore the materiality of the voice, philosophies of language and embodied experience, and translations of cultural practices through space and time. She describes her experimental and improvisational practice as, “a constellation of processes, events, and relational intensities intended to enact and embody their own conceptual underpinnings”.

Colette’s research is centred on the work of philosophers of technology, Gilbert Simondon and Bernard Stiegler, alongside ideas drawn from quantum mechanics, algebraic topology, noise and information theory, and notions of the virtual in the Middle Ages and Antiquity. She has been exploring language and the written alphabet as technical objects, enabling what Simondon terms transindividuation, or a psycho-social collective consciousness; or what Stiegler terms epiphylogenetic memory, an externalised, exosomatic, prosthetic memory, which facilitates the non-biological transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.

Colette has recently been drawing on algebraic topology to investigate subject/object formation through, around, and within text, spoken word, and gesture. Building on Jacques Lacan’s use of topological models, she looks at non-orientable surfaces, such as the Möbius strip and the Klein bottle, as potential spatial representations of the feedback loop language facilitates between the interior mind and the external world: a continually modulating surface which exteriorises the interior, and interiorises the exterior. Within her work, language as technical object is filtered through other, often dated/redundant, technical objects such as hand letterpress, Xerox, cassette tape, VHS, and risograph.

Ruskin MFA 22
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