David Wills


Now I’m here

While oblivion can be defined as being unaware or unconscious of what is happening, it’s more an ignoring of it. We’re often aware, we just choose to consider a problem too difficult to tackle, or decide that no matter what we do, we won’t have an effect. But it’s when we take up the fight that we discover what freedom, redefined or not, is.

Installed in a shipping container as part of Rotterdam Photo 2023, Now I’m Here included around 225 images, 23 short personal stories, a changing selection of plastic rubbish, suspended tea bag tags, covers for fictional magazines Lurker and Oblivia, and other assorted works. The exhibition responded to the festival’s theme: Freedom Redefined.

I saw the container as an opportunity to let go of restraint. I embraced raw and messy, allowing the exhibition to change daily based on my wim.

New images were added, others removed, some thrown on the floor. Collections of single-use plastic rubbish were scattered across the floor. Images of eyes collected from magazines were torn and swept into a corner. An accumulation of Yogi tea tags with their new age wisdom were suspended in a plastic bag, inert. Things moved around the space, just as consumer objects come and go into the containers shunted across the globe to satisify our urges, the blood vessels of capitalism.

I printed new stories daily and added those. Few people saw the same thing. I enjoyed the freedom to show what I wanted and for it to be directly related to how I was feeling at that moment. A kind of mourning process. I enjoyed watching people engage, or not, with the work. Some confused, others rapt.

Torn from magazine pages, the ripped eyes were strewn into a corner of the container. Everyday I added to the mound waiting for someone to comment but no one did. It was a plea to see what effect humanity is having on the planet.

I’m confounded by the mounting detritus that our unequal capitalist culture serves us for a price. Consumption fueled by feel-good marketing underpinned by FOMO. Little matters other than our convenience and as we proliferate, production keeps pace.

I introduced Oblivia, a new semi-autobiographical project currently in development. It is as intrigued and amused as it is annoyed by the stupidity of humanity. These are the first five covers.

other installations

That’s just a nun with a bag of oranges

That’s just a nun with a bag of oranges

Too much chicken on your hands

Too much chicken on your hands