Mobility of Happiness (2015)

Mobility of Happiness

Ethnographic studies of magic and mysticism, such as James Frazer’s nineteenth century Golden Bough, place magic as a cultural practice that precedes science and therefore rational, modern progress. Influential to early twentieth century psychoanalysis and Surrealist practice, the primitive (as the orientalist Other) was a signifier for the irrational, mystical, and the unconscious. Today, commoditised new age culture looks to the orient for spiritual significance however the cultural appropriation of ‘spirituality’ is often overlooked in terms of its impact on the identity of the Other. 

The photographic installation Mobility of Happiness addresses the question of how magic is performed through the proliferation of signifiers of magic and Thai culture. The work draws on documentary photography of animist rituals and uses strategies of appropriation, digital collage and sculptural assemblage to create distance from the ethnographic gaze of the camera. In doing so, it highlights the tenuous nature of determining magical otherness for the purposes of cultural identification and commoditisation.     

Her shrine
Cavities and fillings
80cm (W) x 100cm (H)
Pigment print on Hahnemuehle paper
Spirit chamber
Spirit Chamber
Pigment print on rag paper
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Mobility of Happiness (installation detail)
Ghost dancer
Scene from the ballet (Ghost dancer) (2)
50cm (H)
Pigment print on Hahnemuehle paper
Ghost dancer
Ghost dancer
70cm (W) x 50cm (H)
Pigment print on Hahnemuehle paper
Ghost dancer
Ghost dancer
50cm (W) x 70cm (H)
Pigment on Hahnemuehle paper
Ghost dancer
The offering
50cm (H)
Pigment print on Hahnemuehle paper


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