Daniele Vickers (b.1990) is an artist working in photography, video, sculpture, and new media. She received her B.F.A. from Brigham Young University and recently graduated with her M.F.A. in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She seeks to respond to the in/visible ways in which religious and educational institutions maintain power and influence. She utilizes a variety of strategies within her practice including archiving, media analysis, appropriating, interviewing, writing, teaching, and collaborating, among others. Her work is deeply informed by growing up in the Mormon church and subsequent time as a missionary for the church in the Philippines from 2011-2013.
Taking Out the Garbage
Simulacra is a body of work that has continued to bother me. I don’t know if I can tie a neat bow around this series, despite the directive to write about or justify it. This body of work completed roughly from 2013-2015 was one of the first focused photographic series that I worked on. There are inconsistencies and despite the benefit of retroactively reflecting on this series, it feels neither complete nor incomplete, and maybe exists more as a personal grappling with how terrifying and enormous the photographic world has become in a Post-Internet era. As a then undergraduate student at BYU, I was influenced by the writings of Susan Sontag, Artie Vierkant, and Jean Baudrillard, particularly his work “Simulacra and Simulation,” which lead to the titling of the series.
Growing up in the LDS church, I was baffled by the ways in which religious discourse surrounding the eternal, unknowable, all-powerful divine, was squashed into clichés and ever repeated metaphors that didn’t quite make sense. In simple terms, I was bothered by the lack of discussion about the nature of religious discourse and the language employed inside it. I began to see that the myths (the language, the images) that get told again and again influence the way that people experience the world. This lead me to recognizing something important in Baudrillard’s work and his discussion of the relationships between a post-modern reality with the signs and symbols that have replaced it. Our understanding of reality is complicated by and intertwined with the language we inherit, but also the images and media that came before us. I am fascinated by the truthfulness and dishonesty inherent in photography and the larger implications of when photographs deceive or essentialize, because they often do.
All the images in this series utilize pre-existing photographs, some decipherable, some not. It’s almost a cliché now in contemporary photography to photograph photographs, but it made sense then. At the time, I wasn’t thinking too much about consistency in where these photographs were coming from, so I was pulling them from books at thrift stores, from online, from the special collections archives at my school where I worked in the darkroom, as well as from my grandmother, or even from my own work that I had shredded. This was the beginning of really wanting to talk about the semiotic nature of photography and its eerie and exhausting quality of constantly and almost always pointing to subjects beneath, in front of, and beyond the camera.
Symbiotic Traversal Through a Plane
Exploration on Photographic Metaphors I
Water, Flag, Sun, Diamond
Bad Prints From the Last Two Years
To view more of Daniele Vickers’s work please visit her website.