Fuel for Mankind

Fuel for Mankind explores the photographic intersection where ‘the real’ is both true and fabricated at the same time. These images are staged dreamscapes, initially captured through the standard ‘’snapshot’ medium of the Polaroid, then scanned, digitally enhanced and finally (re)printed.

The series came to be as a result of a stay at a holiday house, and a trip to the butcher where the produce was packed in brown paper bags with the words Fuel for Mankind printed in red. The images are layered with opposites and juxtapositions, details that all point to things out of order and expose our initial belief in the photograph as a document.

My interest is in the tension created between the document and the staged tableau, between reality and fantasy. The resulting images are hybrids, a fusion of the immediate representation of the Polaroid and the process of digital alteration, a union of imagination and realism.

Fuel for Mankind reflects both a need for proof of reality and a longing for things that can offer temporary escape into daydreams.

Dida Sundet, June 2007

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Performing Metamorphosis

Performing Metamorphosis is the waking dream where the lived and the imagined purposely collide. Reflections on binary opposites woven together to create tension and contradiction between fear and desire, memory and fantasy, the light-hearted and the grotesque.

Fiction and fantasy represent endless possibilities for crossing boundaries and discovering the vulnerable and uncanny within the safety of imagination. From a tradition of seeing the world as paired sets of dualities, monsters and hybrids are born to embody a fear of, and an attraction to, what is partly, or completely, unknown.

If we can dream our dreams into being, perhaps we also (by laws of balance) birth our own nightmares.

Perhaps it is all an illusion.

Despite our struggles and convictions, we are ultimately not the masters of our own minds.

-Dida Sundet, 2009

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In Tales of Transformation Dida Sundet explores the concept of actively displacing a selection of Norwegian myths and folktales in an Australian landscape, cultivating a space in-between two diverse cultures. Through these Light Paintings she offers insight into traditional and emerging cultural patterns, allowing viewers to engage with meticulously constructed image worlds without the need to understand their specific symbolism.  The tales are transformed in translation from one cultural context to another and allowed to grow to see what remains, what is lost, what translates, if anything, and what is created when past, present and future is merged to re-form an idea of home.

Tales of Transformation was the creative part of Dida Sundet’s Masters of Visual Arts. For more information about the project and exegesis, please get in touch.

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Down a rabbit hole

The visible world is no longer a reality and the unseen world no longer a dream.

                                                                                                            -W.B Yeats

Down a Rabbit Hole constructs spaces of transition between what is real and what is imaginary. This photographic world inhabits no specific time or place. These photographs are eerie introspective dreamscapes, inspired by fairytales and cinema, presented as staged tableaux.

This body of work explores the imaginary and artifice in photography as a borderland between inner and outer realities, and the ‘theatre of the mind’ as a place of personal escape. It is as much about the contemporary construction of images as it is about the need for escapism and belief in the fantastical and beautifully weird.

As parts of a personal refuge these photographs contain elements of both the familiar and the unknown through fragments of fairytales and dreams reflecting an internal world. They have no real beginning and no definite end. They sit in the transitional space between hereand thereas a place for imagination, possibilities, and freedom from restrictions of reality.

- Dida Sundet, October, 2008

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Something Familiar  

I feel certain that the largest part of all photographs ever taken or being taken or to be taken is and will continue to be, portraits. This is not only true, it is also necessary. We are not solitary mammals, like the elephant, the whale and the ape. What is most profoundly felt between us, even if hidden, will reappear in our own portraits of one another.             

 -Ben Maddow, 1977 [1]

 This series is about the two worlds we occupy, our inner universe of self and the one that forms us. It’s about those moments of vulnerability when we retract into ourselves and peek out from inside. The soft tissue of our hearts and minds protected by the barriers we place around us, and the ones we find ourselves surrounded by. 

I’m interested in exploring relationships both outside and within the portrait. They are as much about the construction, the form and the objectification of images as their emotional content. They represent the fragility and the unseen behind what we present to the world and how we present it.

 A kind of tension is formed in presenting dualities and meeting points: open and closed, soft and hard. The creation of simulacra protects the emotional core in the portrait and establishes another layer for silent contemplation… The introverted sensation in the extroverted object. Portraits have this uncanny power in being so charged with the ability to strike an emotional core that sits so deep within us. They can also be such great deceivers in their construction that they give no certain answers and ultimately reflect us back upon ourselves.

The framing and reframing both unify and separate them, representing mind and body, that of which we recognize in ourselves hidden from others and that of which is hidden from us. But they are also subtle reminders that what we see, what was and what we perceive are not necessarily the same. 

I am the key to the lock in your house

That keeps your toys in the basement

And if you get too far inside

You'll only see my reflection [2]

- Dida Sundet, 2007

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[1]Ewing, William EFACE The New Photographic Portrait. Thames and Hudson, London 2006. p.126

[2]Radiohead,Climbing Up The Walls, OK Computer, 1997