Answers that unlock the artist's projects, practice, and ethos.
TAEX — TX
Joey Holder — JH
TX: How was the Selachimorpha project born?
JH: The project takes a particular scene from the 1975 film Jaws to look at the ways in which manipulated images are appropriated and circulated by Internet culture as ‘fact’. The scene, which shows a shooting star flaring behind the hero Roy Schneider, has become a fodder for conspiracy theories. The ease of ‘adapting’ and then distributing images – such as deserts, outer space, and oceans – offers a rich breeding ground for the fictional and make-believe. Taking its name from a scientific classification for sharks, this project morphs between factual and fictional images, symbols and memes; exposing the continually shifting belief systems we use to define our world. With the increased use of image and video generation platforms using AI, we are discovering all the more mutations and monsters lurking here.
TX: What themes do you explore in the project and how have they evolved in your current artistic practice?
JH: For me, the sighting of a UFO/shooting start in this particular film is of some poignancy. Like space, the ocean is a largely unexplored territory, and therefore a rich breeding ground for myths and conspiracies. Mistakes about marine life have ranged from inaccurate assumptions about the behaviour of known species to fanciful depictions of animals that "might" exist. It's a fact that most lifeforms on earth remain undiscovered by humans, our world is made up mainly of that which remains hidden, and our western systems of classification fall short in their attempts to categorise them.
TX: What research and methods were used in the creation of the project?
JH: I am interested in examining the nature of belief in today’s climate and particularly how belief can be 'manufactured' online. We live in a time of ‘hyperpolarisation’ where we think that people with different political or religious beliefs live in different worlds. Our beliefs are reaffirmed in social media echo chambers whereby abstract manipulation occurs through background algorithmic processes, pulling us further into rabbit holes and making atomised groups. These times of predicted and customised media have resulted in a landscape rife with conspiracy theories — if you want to believe something you just type it into Google to have it confirmed and connect the dots.