Interview: Christopher Palm
Luca Curci talks with Christopher Palm during ANIMA MUNDI 2019 – CONSCIOUSNESS at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Chris spends his rotations around the sun photographing trees and learning about the natural world we come from. He grew up on a ranch very isolated and covered in Aspen on the side of a mountain in Wyoming. Trees were some of his earliest and still are some of his best friends. It was with their suggestion that he should go out and explore this world before all life was lost with a hope that maybe he would be able to play some small part in its preservation. These all knowing trees have sent him around the world. First to Singapore where he studied at NTU to attain his MBA and learn about the value game humans place on fiat money while he lived among the talking heads of commerce and trade. Some of these are indeed greed driven and are inevitably a part of our demise while others are using wealth creation to preserve and conserve. The most enlightened are working to evolve the system all together so that we might transition from a carbon based economy into a sustainable surplus economy. The current form of capitalism doesn’t understand how to value precious yet common goods. Oxygen is a prime example… Chris knew from a young age that he was put on this earth to see because not everyone does. We see with our minds, not so much with our eyes although they are very helpful in the process of collecting photons for our minds to consider. Chris discovered that a camera was a wonderful tool to assist in making sense of what he saw. His best friends have always been trees, however his first true love was of photons. He has dedicated his life to knowing them better and understanding how they play. Although we can never hold photons we do have the ability to capture likeness from the reflections they produce.
In 2012 the trees were shouting loudly and Chris ventured to the forest to hear their call. Maybe it was in the air that passes through the Choco forest in Ecuador and crosses the pacific on its way to Asia that carried the message and brought him there. He has been photographing the Choco for the past 7 years telling tree stories and connecting with the the consciousness that lies in this vast ancient and biodiverse forest network of Ecuador.
His current project, TreeTalk 2.0 forest conversations, is an exploration of teleportation of consciousness to and from the forest. Maybe if we have more of this art in this world we will all be able to breath just a bit easier.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Christopher Palm – Physical art represents the wood or artifacts laid down from the artists life through their craft. The experience of art can not be touched or seen because this only exists within the dimension of the viewer experience. That which we hang on the wall is simply an artifact.
LC – What are you currently working on?
CP – I am working on teleportation of consciousness devices to transport the consciousness of the viewer and the forest to a dimension accessible by the mind where the two may interact.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
CP – To some, the artists may be considered as the most dangers of sorts because they have the opportunity to relate with all layers of society. Like a tree the way they live their life has an influence on the society they live through. Art is a tangible artifact of ideas and beliefs. It can look benign yet be highly political in its symbolism. Contemporary art tends to express vales on the cusp of change within society. It is most current or exciting when it represents a mind shift or a change of paradigm within society.
LC – What is your creative process like?
CP – I spend a great deal of time interacting with the consciousness of the forest. It is my guide and I look for evidence of energy flows when I photograph. I follow practices of Shinrin-Yoku and deep meditation to develop my workflow. I tend to put together collections in a bit of manic flow in order to maintain the same ideas and consciousness across any portfolio. The images are constantly evolving and I surround myself with wood from the forest when ever I work.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
CP – Being an artist has always been difficult, however with mass production/ mass replication and dissemination across the internet it is more and more difficult to connect with viewers. Attention spans have decreased as content overload is more normal. I find i fear art is becoming more decorative and far less meaningful. I ask the question does the art make us feel good, but does it make us act good to? I am very mindful in my work to try and bring elements of both into what I do and how I live. Of course the experience, like the university exist individual inside us all.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
CP – I study forest consciousness. My understanding of consciousness is that it resides in a dimension beyond mind and body. It is something that if we are lucky enough to receive it will pass through us like water. For me the forest is the ideal place to experience universal consciousness. That is the energy I channel in to my art. In some of the art represented in the show I found evidence of the etherial dreams of the artist connecting with universal consciousness. Of course much of the art I found decorative or indulgent of presenting the artist ego. Again I go back to the idea that art is the experience and will be unique for each viewer while what is hanging on the wall is the artifact.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
CP – There is publicity benefit to showing in Venice. If ITSLIQUID can be seen to represent a real value to me is yet to be seen. I suspect there will be some viewership over the course of the exhibition, however I am not sure if the net benefit will be shared with the artist of if the majority of this will go to ITSLIQUID. life is all about energy flows yet when we talk liquid we are drawn into a zero sum game. I prefer working with photons, for I am light. They exist in all places at once and in world of abundance. It is what makes trees grow and with their growth water also flows.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CP – Well its a liquid process so it has been fluid, let’s see where this can possibly go and we can both evaluate. My work is evolving and looking for a places to live and influence, your team is doing a wonderful and beautiful work inspiring us all to evolve. So yes I enjoy spending time in your company so very much. I do hope the feeling is mutual.
LC- What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CP – A catalogue of the exhibition would be quite nice. I have no doubt your team is working diligently on many projects and levels that are not seen.