GEMMA DAVIS is a practicing artist + designer. Her practice overalys digital and analog forms of drawing, painting, interactive animation and textiles in immersive installations. Inside Gemma’s installations is the pastel pink world of an imaginary girl gang; VIDE MAGMAS; a ‘Gemma shaped’ filter for a research project concerned with the making of meaning.
There is no ‘universal’ meaning, there are too many variables, too much variation to condense ‘life’ or what constitutes ‘the world’ into a single snappy definition. The stubborn unwillingness of reality to be pinned down can be overwhelming and unnerving, but the endless possibilities can also be thrilling.
The imaginary world of Vide Magmas is populated by six characters, each a refraction of Gemma. This world is progressively formed through each new work, slowly digesting her own subjectivity and research. This is a method for inventing, experimenting, and sometimes breaking; new, existing or imagined tools for making meaning. Vide Magmas digs down into the ways meaning is made or meaning can change. This process reveals how ‘meaning’ defined as comprehension of your world, can also create ‘meaning’ as in a sense of purpose to your world. There is an agency in understanding how meaning is made, and can be re-made.
The primary tools of meaning making that Gemma’s research is concerned with are; semiotics of the visual image, the power of verbal/written language, the temporal structure of narrative journey, artificial augmentation through technology, and theories of subjectivity and morality.
The semiotic language of the image is researched through the borrowed and invented symbolism and iconography that repeats and builds through each piece of work. As Gemma learns a new verbal and written language (Japanese) so do the members of the girl gang, translating the experience of seeing through this new lens, and re-seeing English from a new vantage point. The temporal structure of narrative journey and mythology are re-evaluated and remixed, borrowing visual cues and structures from popular culture as books, movies, comics, music and games. The ability to distinguish between the virtual and the physical is becoming a rarity when devices are omnipresent in everyday life. This is contemplated in the overlaying of digital and analog forms in installations. The role of technology in augmenting meaning and self are evident in the use of technology to make and share work, and in the presence of a cyborg gang member. Theories of subjectivity and the self are ruminated in the representation of multiple selves, redefining terms of community, and post humanist contemplations of what is life or living.