Kaylee Bush

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Hyperreality: the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced societies (Baudrillard, 1981).

My work stems from a desire to explore themes of social media and the value of reproductions (digital or otherwise) in an attempt to construct an understanding of the hyperreal. Creating this body of work Parys has been an exploration of the abilities of the digital when we have a lack of access to the outside world, but also a look at how those abilities can alienate us from reality. Referencing Jean Baudrillard and Guy Debord, these works are their own imperfect attempt to create a sense of the hyperreal and explain our everyday experience of society. In a time defined by our inability to explore the world freely, the need to understand our experiences as mediated through technology is crucial. This body of work is an imagining of the collapse of the divide between imagery and reality, between what is real and what is simulated. In hyperreality, we struggle to differentiate between reality and the simulation of reality, but more importantly, the distinction doesn’t necessarily matter anymore because people derive equal meaning and value from the simulated world.

My body of work is divided into three components: a series of transfer prints onto silverleaf, a video with audio from the internet, and a video projection of a collection of 35mm photographic slides I have created with imagery sourced from Instagram. For this project, I travelled to Bloemfontein to record the largest Eiffel Tower in South Africa, an exercise that spoke to our inability to travel outside of the country with the ease we once could. The locals have an ownership over their Eiffel Tower, infusing it with a mythology that makes it the South African Eiffel Tower. It got me thinking of the multiple reproductions that exist and the love that each community fosters for their copy. My imagery for the print series includes photographs of different Eiffel Tower replicas all over the world, retrieved from Google reviews, in an effort to capture an idea that is both about the value of reproductions and image-making. There’s an element of humour to be found in the title, with the contrast made between the grand city of Paris and the small dusty town of Parys.

The transfer prints onto silverleaf reference historical forms of photography, in particular the silver surface of the daguerreotype. I also wanted to use a precious material (one necessary for the very existence of the photographic image, originally) that could convey a sense of value. This body of work invites the audience to consider the processes of image-making through referencing historical photographic archives, as well as social media archives, and draws our attention to ways of seeing the world, helping us reconsider the concept of value.