The world I portray through the Zen Gardener exhibition of photographs and films is not a self contained rural idyll, but the garden as a site of interconnectedness, a microcosm of a larger world. Where global, political, economic, colonist and militaristic narratives are played out. Issues of borders, homeland and cultural margins are explored. The zeitgeist of this age is the militarization of consciousness. Predominant within these films is a military figure dressed in ill-fitting army camouflage clothing. The uniform is imbued with symbolic authority. It becomes a mask of authority, the artwork aims to deflate the machismo associated with this attire. Within a Welsh historical and cultural context, I am also interested in ideas of cultural camouflage and how "blending in" becomes a survival technique. An outward mask one wears to move around unnoticed, in order to survive and function within a colonised environment. This militaristic motif also becomes a contemporary extension of the pagan/Celtic myth of the Green Man - a ritual figure made out of tree branches, foliage, plants, flowers. My guerrilla gardener film character fuses both nature and culture. He is an amalgam of different archetypes. A light and shadow figure; benign, comic, sinister, a poet, holy fool and bum, a shaman, foot soldier, rebel, guerrilla, survivalist, a vigilante and potential terrorist. A character capable of both violence and good deeds. The inspiration for this combative figure is Charlie Chaplin, especially his film 'The Great Dictator', Here Chaplin plays the duel role of - Adenoid Hynkel (a Hitler like figure) and an unnamed (therefore an everyman) comic Jewish barber. In this movie, Chaplin as actor, writer and director utilises comedy, tragedy and pathos to confront and warn the world of oncoming dangers of fascism in 1940. Chaplin's mirror protagonists share the same uniform but use it to very different ends. They are characters on two sides of the same coin. Chaplin's use of laughter and humour becomes a subversive force, which reconciles opposites. Comedy and tragedy become interchangeable. Humour is intelligence, it opens up an emotional space that allows redemption.
'...and once more, I felt the lightning flashes between the opposite poles over the abyss, between reality and the ideal. between reality and beauty, felt the swaying of that airy bridge - humour '.