Beach Rock, 2018, 3min 24s Road Rock, 2018, 8min 38s Industrial Rock, 2018, 12min 15s Trunk Rock, 2019, 8min 58s River Rock, 2019, 3min 32s Forest Rock, 2020, 7min 50s
On fifteen separate occasions, Jessica Slipp has transformed into a rock. Placing herself at the centre of the frame, she chameleonically assumes qualities of the various landscapes she inhabits, whether coastal, industrial, or woodland. While the Anthropocene places humanity at the centre of our earthly natural systems whether we like it or not, Slipp’s Rock series shows her melting into the photographic print of a rock surface, sloughing off her humanity in a delicate gesture of mineral mimesis. Not unlike the work of performance artist Ana Mendieta, Slipp’s disappearing acts evoke a kind of geological pathos. With each repeated set of gestures, Slipp inserts her subjectivity into the otherwise rational scientific process of rock formation, making statements that words cannot. Hers is no perfect camouflage, but it is convincing enough for us to perhaps forget the artist’s human body in favour of the material she seeks to become. This quietly absurd series shows the artist at once folding in on herself and opening up our imagination of those metamorphoses that are made possible in a Slippian geology wherein scientific and philosophical research embrace categorical ambiguity. The Living is imbued with the sensibility of the Mineral. Just as Vinciane Despret’s work invites us to think like and with rats (Penser comme un rat, 2009), Jessica Slipp invites the viewer to slide into the rocky mind so that we might better think like and with it.