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2 Wetherly Jessica ghosts_in_the_fridge_5.jpg

Ghosts In The Fridge

The irridescent ghosts presented on crushed ice at the fish market shimmer under fluorescent bulbs, these dead sea creatures have a disarming animacy arranged in active postures far from the neat fillets, packed on the supermarket shelf. 


The exhibition uses the clinical display of raw materials drained of life and colour to grieve the slow decline of these majestic animals and the invasive actions we inflict upon them. We are all complicit as consumers with our failure to reform our hierarchical attitude towards other life forms and shortsighted approach to the production of goods.


The contradictions of a contemporary society which marvels at the fragility of the wild whilst continuing to exhaust its resources raises questions of how we can collectively better understand the world, and how to make our societies more socially responsible. Our response to the pandemic has exposed an immediacy and opportunity for change as our current reality unravels. 


I began the residency focusing on the story of the horseshoe crab, the living fossil, whose blood is harvested for modern medicine to detect infection. Every injection, vaccine, IV drip, and implanted medical device uses this ancient biology unchanged for 400,000 years.


My research took me back to the ancestors of these creatures, to the Cambrian explosion, to the trilobites. The conversation is brought directly to the table presented in polystyrene boxes from the fish market, a reference to the current extinction and the failure to reform industrial fishing practises. The culinary delicacy of the octopus, from the cephalopod family hangs as a ghost, bleached of its radiant camouflage chasing an iridescent hook. 


Cephalopods are thought to be the closest we will come to ever meeting a common intelligence in a foreign body. They developed consciousness in unbounded bodies allowing a large nervous system to evolve, making it possible to hunt while being hunted. Their lives are solitary and short because of their vulnerability,  they are an island of mental complexity in an endless sea.


I came to be by the water to look beyond the surface and contemplate the ghosts in the fridge.

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