Photography: Plastic Non-Place

by Beauchamp Art


Plastic Non-Place

Plastic Non-Place - III

Plastic Non-Place – III

Photos with reversed lens of transparent plastic blocks in conjunction with an empty white computer screen, creating placeless landscapes, half way between physical and artificial; a lucid dream in electronica.

This series examines the bridge between the subjective and objective; a curious investigation into the ophthalmic confusion of states, that seem like bizarre landscapes; formless and placeless. Photographs of concrete objects; a transparent polymer block and a monitor that seem distinctly unreal; creating optical effects that stand ambivalently between fractured pixels and refracted light; giving the illusion of a prism.

It is strange how something so mundane can take on alien qualities when examined closely, and seemingly lose all meaning when one juxtaposes two modern artifacts together. These scenes do not resemble anything in particular, though one could be reminded of a sea-scape, like that of Hiroshi Sugimoto; with a near-infinite horizon into a sublime vacuous sky; or like the distorted photorealistic paintings of Gerhard Richter; in which reality is obscured through a painterly lens. A somber blue washes across this series; like a calm see or the cyber-light sheen of Blade Runner.

Plastic is curious description for a substance; the collective term for a range of synthetic-polymer materials, as it alludes to a state of un-being, or a lack of physicality; its plasticity lies in its malleability, but again is still an ambivalent material is plastics are typically made from organic polymers derived from petrochemicals, or occasionally resins. So exist in a state of being simultaneously man-made; synthetic, and derived from something organic; distinctly objective. *

Plastic Non-Place - I

Plastic Non-Place – I

Digitalism seems equally paradoxical. Take for example the online ‘profile’ or electronically projected personality; it can be seen as both artificial; subjective, and derived from human production, as an extension of the physical, psycho-neurological self; objective.
Non-places are the between spaces, the non-destinations, the through points that are transgressed; deriving purpose from their occupation, and were first described by Marc Augé’s Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. [Augé, 1996]

This description by Peter Merriman expands on some of the subtle notions of the non-place:

“Non-places effect a certain detachment between the individual and the spaces he or she traverses: ‘They are the spaces of circulation, communication and consumption, where solitudes coexist without creating any social bond or even a social emotion . . .’ (Augé, 1996a: 178). Users are unable to fully recognize their presence in non- places (Augé, 1996b),”

They could be seen as an obscure product of supermodernity, of the speed of the contemporary existence, just as the expanding networks of electronic environments may be as a result of the need for rapid exchange in neutral, multifaceted datascapes. One could see the network, or the computer navigational structure, as a form of non-place, to lead to an information destination; a further abstraction of concrete comprehension to plastic perception.

Plastic Non-Place - XII

Plastic Non-Place – XII

The ideas surrounding this piece are more extensively discussed with regards to the Plasticity film.


Augé, Marc (1996). Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity. Verso.
Plastic description informed by – Acessed 27.11.2013
Merriman, Peter. (2004). Driving Places: Marc Augé, Non-Places, and the Geographies of England’s M1 Motorway. In Theory Culture Society: 21-145. Sage. Nottingham Trent University.

Plastic Non-Place - XI

Plastic Non-Place – XI