Equinox is a three dimensional zoetrope, an optical illusion, that considers the delicate calibration of the earth’s ecosystems. Spinning on an axis, a giant lotus flower hosts an orbit of insects. As the flower rotates, its petals act as ‘shutters’, animating the arthropods within. The bugs appear to dance in harmony as they clamber, flutter, eat and pollinate. The flower opens at dusk and closes at dawn. The Artworks title derives from the perfect balance of day at night evident at equinox. The Lotus Lily functions as a precious vessel conserving insect ecology, their enhanced scale underscoring the cataclysm that would follow their decline. Collishaw has selected quotations from HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and William Blake, passages which praise the complex beauty of nature, to accompany the work.
This work is inspired by the historic behavioural experiments of American psychologist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) which explored the idea of random reward. Skinner’s work has been widely referenced in relation to the algorithms which drive interactions on social media, tapping into a subconscious primal side of the brain which is involved in motivated behaviours, thus exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. Skinner’s ‘operant conditioning chambers’ demonstrated that random reward created a kind of constant uncertainty that then encouraged a behavioural loop. Skinner’s ghost has persisted into the modern day, a quiet spectre among our statuses, likes, comments, and shares.
Collishaw became very despondent at the cosmetically doctored images of flowers that appear on greetings cards and calendars. He made flower pictures where he grafted animal skins onto the surface of various flowers by computer. The resulting images had an aggressive animal appearance much like his idea of flowers, as they actually are, indifferent sexual predators.