Motherland: Where do you live and with whom?
Charlotte Colbert: I live in East London with [my husband] Philip, our baby, Peggy the cat, books, clutter and friends.
M: Tell us about your forthcoming show…
CC: It’s called Ordinary Madness and it’s showing at Gazelli Art House on Dover Street, in London, from 1 July to 13 August. It is a series of black and white surreal and staged photographs I developed questioning our relationship to digitalisation.
The phone and other digital devices have slowly but surely been playing an ever-growing role in my life. They punctuate it, distract it, record it, stress it, inspire it. A glimpse at the screen and I disappear into another world, another dimension – for a time I actually ceased to be present to those physically closest to me.
Digitalisation poses the question of identity in a fresh light. How does co-existing in different worlds, the 3D physical world and the “other” virtual world affect our sense of self? Where do our bodies begin and end? What new senses are available to a human who is such a concentrated blend of matter and media? In what space does ‘the other’ exist? In their physical presence or in the “nowhere” space?
My work always revolves around questions of identity, time, dimensionality and digitalisation; now a habitual component of everyday life, reposes all these questions and calls for a redefinition of ourselves
M: Where did the idea for this most recent show come from?
CC: I was with a friend. A butterfly landed on the window and her mesmerised two-year-old reached over, pressed her fingers against the glass, and tried to zoom into the creature to make it bigger. I was completely baffled by the simplicity of this gesture, which collapsed the physical 3D world and the digital 4D world in an instant.
M: You’ve recently had a baby… How has this impacted on the themes you work with and the creative process?
CC: In a strange way I think she has made me more focused as I now have less time.
M: What’s your next project?
CC: I’m part of a show called ‘Daydreaming with Kubrick‘ at Somerset house, opening on the 5 July which, loving Kubrick’s film and photographic work, I’m very excited about. I am also working on a feature film to direct, and a new photographic series around the theme of evolution.
M: How do you balance work and personal life, on a practical level?
CC: Badly, chaotically… I am relatively new to motherhood so hopefully practice makes perfect … or at least better.
Charlotte’s solo show ‘Ordinary Madness’ runs from 1 July – 16 August 2016, at Gazelli Art House, London