Mimesis
by Jose Snook

project STATEMENT

Mimesis first began when I became fascinated by the cryptic camouflage of insects and the environmentally activated changes of many invertebrate species. I started to think about how human actions may alter evolution, as observed in peppered moth populations when air pollution in industrial cities resulted in darker coloured moths becoming dominant. Later I came across the work of knowledge artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger who made extensive field studies of mutations in invertebrates observed in the Chernobyl nuclear fallout zone. I found this project to be both beautiful and chilling.

With all this in mind, I decided to make photographic works as a way to imagine and explore mutation in insects. I began experimenting with photographs of fallen and decaying leaves to see what new species of leaf insects might evolve as a result of my manipulations. The image Musca sp. is one of those early experiments.

In 2018, my home county of Northumberland had one of the hottest and driest summers on record. Local flora was severely impacted by this weather. Sycamore and Cherry trees suffered, their leaves withering on branches and falling off completely by July. This motivated me to revisit the Mimesis project with urgency, to imagine how insects might respond to changes in the plants within their habitats, and how the insects might evolve to camouflage themselves in this changing environment.

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