Small Object of desire #22 – Storytelling/Digital Art

Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist whose practice spans video installation, photography and film. Often working in series or meditations on one theme, her measured pace gently insists that patient observation might lead to layers of understanding between ourselves, others and the natural environment.

It’s worth watching the video in full. 

The words ‘digital or conceptual art’ can sometimes put the fear of god into me. I fear that what I’ll see is simply the so-called artist shoehorning their dysfunction and received notions of cultural shifts into a framework called ‘art’. I want art to illuminate life in general not the neurosis of the particular maker. That’s not to say the neurosis of a particular artist can’t be art. I think the point I’m trying to make is that art shouldn’t be selfish. It should always endeavour to transmute the personal into the universal. If it doesn’t do that, if I can’t feel a corresponding shift in myself when I’m experiencing a work of art then it feels like nothing more than an exercise in onanism. I guess I’m always trying to figure out why the artist thought the work was worth sharing. This is simply my opinion. I’m sure someone somewhere can slap me down with a well argued retort. 

Anyhow, a couple of days ago, I had to go and deliver a storytelling workshop in a school for children with severe learning disabilities. I’d worked with people with severe learning and multiple disabilities before but never in this full on way. I was anxious to ensure that my time spent with the kids gave them something useful and fun to latch on to. So, with my Google detective hat on, I went hunting for ideas to make my storytelling as multi-sensory as I possibly could. 

There’s tons of stuff about storytelling techniques online but an absolute paucity of anything to do with multi-sensory storytelling or indeed, the kind of storytelling that you can do with children with severe learning and multiple disabilities. 

But in my search I stumbled across the work of Lynette Wallworth. She is not only a great storyteller but her work also seeks to bridge the gap between one person and the rest of the humanity. Somehow, she blends her own preoccupations into themes that consider the world on a grand scale. She manages to transmute several ‘personals’ into the universal. In the process, she makes wonderful and engrossing art.

She’s one of a kind. 


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