SHUSTER + MOSELEY
“Our work is about seeing light as consciousness; consciousness as light. We see the way reality is enframed by technology - how a network of lenses and screens filter and mediate the informational light that is exposed to our minds and bodies. And how the light of consciousness can be spiritualised. How we can tune in to dimensions of reality that are hidden in plain sight. Our practice creates sculpture and installations that tune the ambience of an environment, creating meditative spaces where lenses and screens are used like satellites to tune the spectrality of light that is exposed to consciousness.”
Shuster + Moseley is a conceptual art studio led by Claudia Moseley (b. 1984) and Edward Shuster (b. 1986). The studio creates light-mobiles, sculptural installation and immersive, meditative environments reflecting on the nature of consciousness and technology.
Working with optics, geometry, light and glass, underpinned by a spirit of collaboration, the artists have developed projects with world-renowned scientists working in neuroscience, cosmology and imaging technologies, as well as architects, engineers and technicians. Their work is equally informed by research in anthropology, cosmology, philosophy, the esoteric arts and the poetics of space. Each project is conceived as an alchemy of elements, bringing this cross-disciplinary approach into focus through immersive and site-specific works that create ambient and meditative experiences.
The artists met on a tree-dwelling protest site in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, where they began their collaboration inhabiting a suspended treehouse. Based in London the studio creates temporary and permanent works for public spaces, private collections and international exhibition.
Claudia Moseley MRBS, Fine Art and Textiles (Goldsmiths University), MA Environmental Anthropology (Kent University), Foundation diploma Art & Design (Middlesex University).
Edward Shuster PhD FRSA MRBS, Doctor of Philosophy (‘The Pharmakology of Light-Time’, European Graduate School), Optics, Geometry and Architecture researcher (Farjam Scholarship, Prince's School), World Philosophies (SOAS), Esoteric Philosophies (Exeter University).
Shuster + Moseley are happy to accept commissions. Please find below a selection of their works.If any are of interest or you have a specific project in mind, please enquire further. We will be more than happy to help with any questions you may have.
Please find below small video footage about the artist.
SOLÈNE wants the viewer to explore and understand the world of each artist by entering their studio life, their daily exploration or even a show, a project that has marked them but more generally SOLÈNE’s vision is for the viewers to see what inspire them, their artistic process and what they wish to share and transmit.
Your work is principally focused on light and glass installations, from a small bubble lamp to an installation with 2300 fragment created by combined elements of technology, neuroscience, cosmology, philosophy and even esoteric arts. Do you mind telling us more about how you came to combine all those different fields together?
We use our artwork to think about light as consciousness. In doing so we are considering the ways that technologies mediate informational light to augment our perception of reality, and the ways our minds and bodies can be tuned to luminous spiritual dimensions. Working as a duo, this work has always been underpinned by a collaborative ethos, and we have used each of our projects as an opportunity to bring a unique set of elements into play, from the qualities of light and poetics of space specific to each environment (in both public and private spaces), to the expertise of collaborators who have included world-renowned scientists in neuroscience, cosmology and imaging technologies, as well as meditation experts, architects, engineers, glass blowers and other specialist technicians. Behind this diversity of elements is always the same structure of a particular form of mediated light that is exposed to consciousness. This is why our work uses light interfaced by hand blown glass lenses and other prismic and crystalline forms - the work is revealing an optical dimension that is invisible to the naked eye, tuning the spectrality of light that consciousness is exposed to.
The process began through Claudia’s initial experiments in the darkroom, deconstructing the photographic apparatus, which were like a physical counterpart to Edwards’s academic philosophy how the light of consciousness is structured by our embodiment, by our interfacing with technologies and the ways in which we can open or deepen our sensibility in this context. The work then evolved though a diagrammatic process that mapped cosmological and metaphysical concepts through optical and geometric compositions, and a concern with deconstructing the types of apparatuses that reveal the scientific information of the world: the telescopes that interface the ancient light of the stars, the intricate lenses that reveal microscopic worlds, and so forth. We pull apart imaging apparatuses to see the way lenses and screens shape the behaviour of light as it is exposed to us, and suspend the glass in cones of light to reveal optical effects that saturate the environment with a particular resonance and tonality of light. We began working together as handheld devices became more and more ubiquitous, and so we wanted to think not just about how we come to have experience of the world, , but also how the information that informs this experience is communicated through a network of mediation technologies. Mediation technologies embodied as glass screens and lenses interfacing light have now come to inform our life-world minute by minute, enframing and coordinating the whole informational space between the individual and their environment. Thinking about this play of informational light led us to a recent project collaborating with neuroscientists and super resolution imaging specialists. The project considers the concept of brain plasticity in relation to mind / brain / computer interfaces. What fascinates us here is how plasticity has a double connotation: both to give and receive form; how the brain receives sensory information but also builds our world. Stemming from complimentary research into meditation and psychedelics, we think similarly about artworks as being able to play with the plasticities that surround conscious apprehension, operating as meditative instruments or ‘satellites’ that can tune a particular ambience or atmosphere of the psycho-physical life-world by interfacing between the individual and this surrounding environment.
As you use technology in your creativity and as it rapidly changes and grows, are you able to develop new way of creating?
Because our work is focused on how light affects consciousness, we are always responding to the emerging technocene, trying to find ways of exploring the existential dimensions of new technological change. For example, with the growing concerns around synthetic media and algorithmic governance, we are thinking about the ways informational culture develops new forms of disorientation, as we are hypnotised by supercomputers behind the smartphone screen. But also how deep-rooted and archaic the problem of alienation is more generally, because consciousness is always already caught up in a play of mediation, interfaced through our bodies, cultures and environments. New technologies may open the possibility for new types of experience that are distinctly post-human, but the human condition already one of instability - the nature of the human has always been uncertain, always caught up in the spectral play of light and shadow, life and death, truth and illusion. For this reason we are always considering ancient philosophies and esoteric practices in tandem with cutting edge technologies. So as we are exposed to the alien lights of new technologies, and we feel ever more disorientated (even as we’re able to see the world in higher definition, simulate our environments, and map our brains in nano scale), we use our art to work with this paradoxical play of orientation and disorientation; focus and distortion - to tune these spectral plasticities.
There are two lights : the natural and the artificial light. Do you create your work with a conscious mind of using one or the other or actually both of them and how does it transcript in your work?
We tend to work equally with both natural and artificial light and many of our works can be experienced responding to the changing light of the sun as it moves through the course of the day and then lit by artificial light sources by night. But we always work with a very stripped back form of artificial light -we have custom made a series of luminaires that an produce the same type of tone and optical precision as natural daylight - it is always a white light and single source, very small LED chip . But sunlight surrounds the work, moving through the day, the artificial LED focuses a cone that projects from the sight-line of the viewer, like the light is projected from the eye, so in this way we are trying to set up a dialogue between the light of the sun and the conscious gaze of the viewer. Whenever we work on commissions we geo-locate the architecture to carry out sun-studies, watching how light moves around the space, so that we can be very precise in the optical effects the work will produce (although there are always unexpected extra magical moments).
Do you think they both give the same meditative state or atmospheric stage?
We want to create continuity between the ambient effect you get from the work in daylight and when lit from artificial sources. But more than this, by daylight the work reflects the time and space of a setting, morphing and changing with the course of sunlight throughout the day and year. So we try to encourage a conscious association with this language of light, provoking particular effects at different moments in time that are like expressions of the light of a place. For example a recent work we created for the desert was inspired by stone circle to create optics that changed due to the combination of the individual’s orientation to the artwork, the location of the sun, and the flux of temporality, with glass sculptures oriented towards particular cosmological alignments. By night we are trying to show how this cosmic light is internalised—how there is a sun within us, so to speak, as the creative imagination—and so the artificial light stands in diagrammatically for the eye of the viewer.
Personally, I have experienced your Light-Mobiles (Twilight Language and Quietude) and the reflection I saw in terms of colours against the wall changed as my eyes started focusing and adapting to it. Do you create your pieces with this in mind? And if so, how do you explore this?
This experience is all about active vision, which is caused by how the eye responds to the work, relaxing into the spectral detail, and also how the image stays in the eye and mind after you have been looking as an afterimage. So the light leaves an impression in the mind’s eye like an exposure. Traditionally there is this idea that the mind itself is like a kind of light, and we know scientifically that the mind fills in the gaps from the the raw sensory information received from what is actually out there in the world to such an extent that perception is really a hallucination. An appreciation for how seeing is actually a process of creative visioning is something we are trying to inspire in the work. There is a kind of mediative gaze that you can adopt where the whole of the perceptual field is taken in as a play of spectrality. We practice these kinds of meditation and gazing techniques to inform the process of composition, where there is a constant conversation between us through the light and the glass that we slowly tune, letting our minds be saturated in the immersive effect, taking in the afterimage, and coming back to tweak and fine tune the composition over time.
To follow my previous question, I am intrigued as whether or not, the perception of those shadows, lights and colours to the eyes is unconscious and yet already there and becomes only visible when the brain is conscious of it? What do think? The perception of the unconsciousness mind becomes a consciousness one once we focus on it?
It is possible to miss this meditative perception because we tend to see things in black and white, truth and falsehood, whereas the reality is that perception is a plasticity between the minds eye and the environment, and between unconscious processes and the focus of consciousness. Most of the time we focus on things that are rather programmatic, biologically speaking, in that what we see is shaped by our pre-conditioning. This work is about relaxing that view as you would do in a meditative state, to look through that black and white surface to see the depth of spectrality in between. That is why spectrality is a synonym for a kind of opening of consciousness.
I believe you both met on a tree-dwelling protect site in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. Do you somehow explore the concept of trees, more generally nature and our endangered and precious nature through your work?
We met each other on a tree-dwelling protest site back in 2007. It was this amazing space where the environmental protestors built treehouse structures to live in and to protect the ancient trees. We lived for months there in a treehouse Claudia had built and shared our mutual inspiration with the natural environment. We then created a project in London’s Regents Park inspired by this experience and spent some years working together visiting more tree-dwelling protest sites and designing treehouse structures as architectural pavilions. It was through this process that we understood our mutual fascination for immersion. On the protest sites we experienced this kind of full immersion in the natural environment, and we were somehow transformed by this saturation in the natural elements. The wonderful thing about trees as well is that they inspire this sense of interconnectivity. In the treehouse you are kind of suspended in between root and leaf, small and large, sky and earth, and this helps you to understand nature as an interconnected ecosystem that extends to the cosmos and microcosmos. Common patterns emerge from the roots of a tree, the veins of a leaf, the lights of a city, the neurology of the brain, the spiral of galaxies. So the experience inspired us to create work that was environmental in terms of creating immersive spaces, where you could be saturated in an ambience of light that is inspired by this sense of awe at the natural world, but also environmental in the sense that it connects us to interconnectivities between the very large and very small, which perhaps explains a bit how we’ve ended up working with both cosmologists and nanoimagers.
What would be the message you ultimately would like to share, explore and transmit as conceptual artists?
We would like people to see their consciousness like light because of the existential threats from emerging technologies that are changing the world in unprecedented ways. If we can appreciate how a network of lenses and screens filter and mediate the informational light that is exposed to our minds and bodies, we can also see how the light of consciousness can be opened, and we can tune a meditative gaze through this play of light to the spectral dimensions that are the space for the creative mind.