Ego Trip considered representations of nature and travel in contemporary consumer culture. A series of landscape studies in video, costumed performance and sculpture played with constructions of the wilderness and the wanderer in fashion and tourism advertising.
During their time in residence at ARE, Benois and Dillon created a range of travel suits and accessories for the contemporary nomad. An accompanying video series followed a pair of wilderness pilgrims as they wandered the Twente woods, bonding with nature, and each other. The third component, a mixed media sculptural installation, experimented with the collection and display of souvenirs as trophies of travel experiences.
The series takes as its central motif the figure of an artificial Dieffenbachia fern, a relic from a previous work created during an artist residency in far north Iceland. The artificial fern symbolises the escapist fantasies of travel, and the disorienting effects of constant relocation on one’s sense of self and purpose. The artificial fern - evergreen, eternal implant, appears repeatedly in the work of Benois and Dillon as an icon of commodified nature, and a fetishized object of the lure of elsewhere. In Ego Trip, the Dieffenbachia becomes a logo worn by the contemporary nomad as they pursue self-discovery in landscapes of the remote and unfamiliar.
Concept and camera: Beth Dillon and Anton Benois
Costumes, editing, sound composition: Beth Dillon
Ego Trip was exhibited at TETEM Kunstruimte and DYNAMO EXPO, Enschede, the Netherlands, and at Kudos Gallery, Sydney, Australia.