Using performative and constructed scenes, landscape and studio photography – with each image in isolation, as well as part of a group, Does a Cow Know When a Storm is Coming? by Jamie Tilley alludes to the wider concepts. The work references the interdependent relationship between man and machine, nature and technology, the past and the future and how this permeates contemporary lifestyles – one of distraction whilst walking into a future existential crisis.
The title Does a Cow Know When a Storm is Coming? refers to the folklore that a cow will lie down when rain is due. A simplistic visual cue used to predict complex and multifaceted weather systems based on no scientific evidence.
As we navigate the seamless, sterilised, transient and privatised spaces of our current era – our assumptions based on hearsay, stories and social media posts are ill-equipped to deal with today’s larger and more complex geopolitical and economic systems. We are perhaps the ones lying down, alone as islands, embellishing the devices and methods of our own subordination – unsure if it will rain.
“Every technology or technique of domination brings forth characteristic devotional objects that are employed in order to subjugate… devotion and related words mean submission or obedience. Smartphones represent digital devotion – indeed they are devotional objects of the digital… As a subjugation-apparatus, the smartphone works like a rosary, which represents a hand-held device too. Both the rosary and the smartphone serve the purpose of self-monitoring and control. Power operates more effectively when it delegates surveillance to discrete individuals.” – Byung-Chul Han, Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power.