What happens if we lose our senses? In times of multi-species extinction and devastating effects caused by climate change, environmental anxiety is a rising problem affecting societies, perceived by scientists to be one of the biggest mental health issues of the near future.
Solastalgia is a relatively new name, introduced in 2003 by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, for describing an emotional distress caused by the loss of ecosystems, a feeling of “losing home while being in it”. Climate grief and eco-anxiety can be characterised by a perspective of a fading world, a lived experience of the loss of the present. A perspective of a fading world and a state of fading-away is close to sensory deprivation. Disappearance of senses, one of the biggest human fears, can lead to intra-mental perception and memory flashbacks. As I have temporarily lost one of the senses in the past, this deprivation became my intuitive leading guide, which I have applied to my working method and to the visual language. I was also affected by climate grief, due to the natural disaster which happened in Bory Tucholskie (Poland, 2017). Turning my research into a speculative narration, with ‘Fading Senses’ I aim to create a mental image of an ungraspable sensation to underline the alarming effects of climate change on our emotions and senses.
Ligia Popławska (b. 1994, Poland) is a visual artist currently based in Antwerp, Belgium. Her work explores themes of senses, emotional states and human impact on natural environment. She graduated with honors from the Photography department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (BFA and MFA), previously gaining a BA in Art History from the University of Gdańsk (2016). Her project ‘Fading Senses’ won Decade of Change Series Award (2022) by the British Journal of Photography, as well as a solo exhibition at PhMuseum Days International Photography Festival in Bologna, Italy (2021) and Photography Prize funded by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (2020). Ligia Popławska is a laureate of .tiff 2022 (FOMU Antwerp) and a recipient of a scholarship for Emerging Talents from the Flemish Government. She exhibited at Bienal’23 Fotografia do Porto, FOMU Antwerp, De Brakke Grond, Helsinki Photo Festival, among others. Ligia Popławska works as a freelance photographer and editor.
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