Victoria is an artist, Lecturer of Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire, board member of Bloc Projects and current PhD scholar at Sheffield Hallam.
Land reclamation involves infilling an area of space with large amounts of material until a new land mass is achieved. This construction of place, of new ground that can be traversed and utilised, is an assertion of one’s power in the face of elemental forces. The process of claiming something back, of reasserting one’s rights over a space demands resistance, innovation and action. One starts with nothing and, through a method of construction, arrives at a place that is suddenly imbued with significant value. Overnight these artificial islands solidify ideologically into so much more than the heavy rock, clay and dirt that form them.
My practice led research aims to investigate the analogy of the artificial island as an ideological mise-en-scène, to challenge anti-progressive frames of power through the construction of imaginary subversive place as artwork. Limiting, orthodox idealism has gained a foothold in western politics, fuelled by the widespread manipulation of facts and a populist shift towards right-wing agendas. Drawing upon imaginary, fictional space the staging of the work cites cinematic, geographic and literary frames and references in order to interrogate the power of constructed heterotopic resistance against unquestioned privileges of power from a feminist perspective.
These opposing heterotopias question how power and agency can be playfully reclaimed through the construction of subversive place. Dissident, fictive island constructions explore a scene in which radical representations of women control their own space, and their own bodies, on their own terms. Using the metaphor of land reclamation, my artistic practice aims to reveal a space in which the occupant can objectively interrogate the limiting aspects of feminised stereotypes.
Politicised and reactionary, the work will interrogate a disruptive approach to the ever-present digital screen that dictates, coerces and misleads. Social media ‘selfies’ and tailored online profiles; the plethora of online pornography; reality TV, celebrity culture and the prevalence of cosmetic surgery; all these invite participants to perform a digitally altered, manufactured version of womanhood - and this is something that I would like to deconstruct, and indeed playfully corrupt, through the digital and sculptural installations - or islands - I develop.