Now I just need to make up the catalogue and get it printed tomorrow. Good friend Kevin Platt wrote the catalogue essay, which is below.
The characters in Souls End are, at least conceptually, cyborgs. However they are not what we imagine when we first think of the term cyborg – part machine, part man, a human body part driven by cogs and computer chips. The bodies we see here have lost all semblance of drive in their pose and stature. Their relationship is one of dependence upon a non-human part that allows them to continue existing. They are not threatening but we fear them because we fear becoming them. We fear that our drive may die and subsequently, we may come to inhabit their bleak world as assisted humans.
The subsisted existence of these figures is dependent on the mundane fittings and fixtures of household operations, the most apparent being plumbing. The figures live a similar existence to the vegetables lining the walls of a large supermarket’s grocery section. Having left the ground from which they drew sustenance, their new life-source is the auto-timed spray system that ensures they don’t become too withered. Humans retro fitted with auto-hydration devices, humans in need of constant receipt of water, of fluids that sustain. This reliance creates bodies propped up with support structures that are at once survival necessities and torture devices. They are support structures that burden, lying somewhere between prosthesis and machine aid in their purpose. While they provide and assist, they reduce the bodily function through their presence like an addiction. The remnant human element is barely operating by its own will, instead forging a continued existence on account of its apparatus.
The exposure of these apparatuses displayed under the title of Souls End implies that what we see in these images is the furthermost point to which our souls are stretched, or their deepest and most hidden elements. Festering on these bent figures are the usually concealed structures that lie beneath all our skins. If they are not already there, they can develop as the result of painful toil and dissipated desires. The self-hydrating systems or the safe deposit box implanted in our back are things we fear to have exposed. The revealing of the sustenance of our soul or the miserable reality of our existence coming to be shown as little more than that of a walking storage unit. In revealing our inner workings to be without thrill, no more exciting than effective but listless domestic fixtures, Heesco queries the purpose of our continued functioning. This begs us to ask if there were any point in the commencement of our function as organisms. These figures look as though they have been browbeaten by life to a point of grotesque disfigurement, though in seeing them it’s hard to conceive a time when they weren’t already this way. One then imagines we are born as seeds, germinating and on a path to this invariable state.
Some of the works form the face of dimly lit light-boxes that loosely resemble EXIT signs, a recurrent motif in Heesco’s past work. The text and stick figure diagram have been replaced with figures that have perhaps stayed too long. It suggests that life has an expiry date or that life must be continued in whatever fashion until that expiry date is met. The persistence of the drudging bodies found in Souls End may be attributed to some previous, or continuing, romantic hope. Their general visage and broken, amended bodies belie a greater yearning. One that has now come to be confined to the end section of S.T. Coleridge’s poem Pain:
I view the crowd, whom youth and health inspire,
Hear the loud laugh, and catch the sportive lay,
Then sigh and think—I too could laugh and play
And gaily sport it on the Muse’s lyre,
Ere Tyrant Pain had chas’d away delight,
Ere the wild pulse throbb’d anguish thro the night!
Heesco’s characters display a yearning for that which is gone from their lives and that which will most probably never be attained. Their nobbled forms are the suffering that Coleridge speaks of made manifest in an external form. Like Dorian Gray’s portrait they expose the life that has been lived, but they are less deserving than the ever-young Dorian. They are figures broken and transformed by lost passions, disillusioned by that which never came. They are near the point of total abandonment, amended souls that are now reliant upon their exposed appendages.