Samantha Jade: Statement
Samantha Jade (b.2000) is an Australian artist living and working on Gadigal land within Eora Country (Sydney, NSW). Her practice investigates how photography can offer non-human entities agency and space to create their own narratives and document lived experiences, particularly through cameraless processes. Her work explores the potential for and importance of sympoiesis (making-with) with non-human beings, through the lens of the garden. The ‘garden’ in this sense is not a literal portion of land, but a metaphysical space that harbours worlds other than our own, offering exchange with non-human persons, their communities, their perspectives, and their processes. Through an ecofeminist lens, the camera can be understood as a further extension of human domination over nature, a tool that reduces the existence of natural worlds to their aesthetic value. For this reason, cameraless photography offers a way to document and converse with such worlds that negates this act of silencing. Drawing upon cameraless images and their relationship to invisible truths, Jade foregoes the camera to translate the unseen presence of the garden and its inhabitants, documenting authentic and otherwise hidden conversations, exchanges, and world-making processes ingrained within the silver-gelatine emulsion of film. The artist uses the organic materiality of film to directly engage with micro and macro-organisms and their associated environments; the invisible processes of consumption, decomposition, and chemical exchange are not just imprinted onto the film surface but become an intrinsic part of the film itself. In this way, Jade enters into collaboration with these unseen worlds, offering a kind of authorship and autonomy to their silenced persons. The artist, the film, and the garden are in constant conversation, exploring the ways in which photography can facilitate and encourage a form of ecological citizenship between worlds.