The problem of survival also served as the starting point for the Microcosm project (2015), her new-media project which includes a series of photographs and an overhead projection component. While searching for her first job, she relied on the family business and started cultivating vegetables. However, she soon learned that, despite the fast-growing demand for organic food, people still prefer to buy imported vegetables, which appeal with their low prices and perfect appearance, with quality, taste and nutritional value deemed secondary considerations.

It is clear that the Microcosm project, which includes photographs and an overhead projection, represents a step forward in her creative work, not only in terms of combining different media but also with regard to the subject chosen. Unlike her previous projects, Microcosm does not reflect aspects of everyday life; it is instead a photographic still-life which puts “hidden” life to the fore. The photographs show the decay of the food, comparing imported vegetables with vegetables she cultivated in her own greenhouse. She noticed that, despite being imported almost from the other side of the world, the supermarket vegetables remained fresh for much longer than their home-grown counterparts.

The author took photographs of the decaying vegetables in natural light and on a perfectly neutral white surface in order to better emphasise the changes in structure, colour and shape caused by the decay. At the same time she presents the decaying as a natural process that is an inevitable part of the life of all organisms, but goes mostly unnoticed, intentionally ignored and pushed to the back of our thoughts. Images of decay actually very often make us feel uncomfortable, anxious and resistant as they remind us how fleeting human life is.

However, the relationship between life and death is not the only topic that our minds associate with disreputable imagery. With her project the artist also asks viewers to consider contemporary issues regarding global management, self-sufficiency and the human exploitation of the planet. In her opinion, humanity has become completely estranged from nature, which is evident not only by the supermarkets that cover vast areas of arable land in the suburbs, but also by the sad fact that more and more people have no understanding as to how food is produced.

The photographs are accompanied by an overhead projection comprising photographs of the microstructure of decaying vegetables. The author selected the compositions with care and sharpened the resolution of only certain parts of the images; this resulted in highlighted colour contrasts in some parts and the dynamic structure of “live” surfaces or fine light effects in others. Through this approach, she embellished non-aesthetic images we would initially consider to be just undefined organic matter as opposed to decaying crops.

The projection is an integral component in the project. The rapid display of imagery creates a vivid and dramatic effect in the space provided, and is intended to reflect the speed of modern life. But that is not all; the photographs of the vegetable textures are projected onto huge rocks on which the viewers can sit, thereby interacting with the art installation. In this way, the artist encourages viewers to critically ponder the destruction of the environment because, in her opinion, the fate of humanity is inextricably linked with that of the natural world.


Nataša Kovšca