"I am currently exploring a post-human narrative, constructing a narrative body of work that reimagines urban, suburban, and wild landscapes through a toxic kaleidoscope. The project is very much informed by the human impacts of climate change, speculative science fiction, and our global pandemic.
It is ultimately a project about isolation, and the degradation of our physical and mental environment represented as an inescapable noxious fever dream. The work is a bittersweet reverie to the end of humanity and the shadows that remain.
The photographs were created combining several experimental techniques, multiple exposures, speciality films and film souping. Shot on a variety of cameras and lenses in the Pacific Northwest, through 2019 and 2020. Several photos received digital adjustments for clarity."
See more of Jarrett's work on instagram at @j.edmund
A/A: What inspired this series, that seems dystopian in nature? JE: I have always been an avid science fiction reader since I was young, and I began experimenting with writing while I was finishing my Sociology degree. I took a number of advanced photography courses in my final year at university, and that was when I really began to piece together the synchronous narratives of my written work with my visual practice. I became enraptured by this idea of a post-human world, haunted by the spectre of rampant economic growth at the expense of our natural environment. The intent was to create a body of work that is both other-wordly yet familiar, and although creating digital pieces would allow me greater flexibility I chose to pursue this work through film and film souping. I think there is an honesty with film, and the process of creation feels much more organic for me. Fortunately (or rather unfortunately) showcasing the dramatic range of climate catastrophe has been relatively accessible where I live. In Canada we experience severe weather patterns: wildfires, blizzards, and floods all year round. How these weather systems interact with crumbling infrastructure, abandoned condo complexes, or the shadows of people, provide the backdrop for my experiments.
In spite of our toxic interventions, life finds a way to bleed through. And I often find myself incorporating floral and organic elements both in my photos and in the film souping process. Nature has a twisted way of enduring our torture, and I do believe the ruins of humanity will be quite bright and colorful.
A/A: How has the pandemic affected your work?
JE: I've been more or less working in isolation for several years, so the pandemic is business as usual for my creative process. Albeit watching society crumble in real time has certainly expedited "apocalyptic" narratives in art, and it suddenly feels very en vogue to be creating works that tackle issues like climate catastrophe and societal collapse. Although my work borders on fiction, many of these elements are becoming more and more prescient in our day-to-day lives. I think we are facing a crisis of empathy worldwide, and we are begging our governments, our employers, our friends and our family members to have compassion for the lives of others. It's a tough sell to try and convince our multinational corporate oligarchs to buy into wealth redistribution and dismantle their organizations in favour of local, sustainable frameworks. In many ways the pandemic has felt like a direct attack on how the Global North has cultivated and maintained an individualistic society. The answer has always been to take care of eachother, and we have the resources to do so, but it looks like capital is doubling-down on its efforts instead. Luckily the film community remains very strong, and I am constantly inspired by the works of others as we all continue to explore the medium. I swear I'm actually quite optimistic! I think art during (and hopefully after) the pandemic will be incredibly important. People have been confronted with these issues like never before, and I truly believe in the compassion and empathy of individuals to come together, reach out, and support one another. I do not like the idea of my fictional work on posthumanism becoming closer and closer to reality.
A/A: What is next for you?
JE: I think I ask myself that question every single day. I do not see an end date for this particular work, and I imagine I will continue to build off this narrative for years to come. I intend on publishing a mixed media book within the next year, combining my written and visual work into a cohesive, physical product. Next year, travel permitting, I would love to explore more of our Canadian landscape. In Newfoundland, you can watch the icebergs from the arctic float past the towns bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Out west, the forest fires in British Columbia have become increasingly aggressive over the past few years. I have always been inspired by Edward Burtynsky and his exploration of the Canadian anthropocene. It would be fascinating to capture these events from an experimental lens.