- 27 MARCH 2023
- VITTORIA MARTINOTTI
- Image by
Dominique Cro: the feminist worldbuilder and environmental ally.
We had the pleasure to have a thrilling chat with Dominique Cro, a new media artist living and working in London. Cro utilises the concept of time travel to observe two hyperobjects that continue to change the course of humankind – digitisation and capitalism. In Cro’s practice she observes phenomena such as digitisation and capitalism over time, with the aim of exploring new ways to re-establish multispecies coexistence in an age of global heating. Cro works in moving image, CGI animation, installation, photography and digital design. Her practice combines documentary of the current socio-ecological environment with speculative fiction. She applies feminist worldbuilding as a tool to explore alternative realities, with a focus on more-than-human perspectives. Explore the interview with us.
Can you tell us about your artistic journey? How did you first become interested in art and what led you to pursue it as a career?
As a child you could always find me sitting at a table, drawing for hours on end. Although my work now rarely requires me to draw - due to being camera and computer-based - I have always been interested in creating characters and environments. As a young adult, I was fortunate to have a critique with lecturer Brian McCann at Kingston University. He encouraged me to make an artist video
and I enjoyed the process so much it entirely redefined my method of making, still forming the basis of my practice today. With video often being an audiovisual experience, I feel excited about the future of a medium that has the potential to engage with multiple senses.
Your work often incorporates elements of nature and the environment that intersect with aspects of technology and society. What inspires you about these subjects, and how do you approach integrating them into your art?
I feel at the core of my practice is the concept of more-than-human - referring to the entanglement of humans and nonhumans coexisting on Earth. I’ve been reading multispecies feminist Donna Haraway’s writings on the Chthulucene, in which she describes ‘our epoch as one in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked in tentacular practices.’ The ecological inseparability of nature and culture drives my research and artwork production. I apply feminist worldbuilding in my practice to explore alternative realities, with the aim of actively participating as an environmental ally.
Your pieces often incorporate intricate details and patterns. Can you talk a bit about your process for creating these complex designs, and what draws you to this particular aesthetic?
Recent works have involved making CGI scenes in Blender which are then further processed through design software such as Photoshop. I tend to lose track of time when creating work, so have always ended up working with labour-intensive processes. I love the endless possibilities of working with 3D software and I’m eager to start learning Unreal Engine next, as I plan to make a game in the future.
You've worked with a variety of mediums throughout your career, from painting to video to digital art. How do you decide which medium to use for a particular project, and what challenges and opportunities does each one present?
I tend to think of the concept for the artwork first and then think of which medium could serve the concept best. The internet is such a wonderful resource for learning new skills, so when I want to use a technique I’ve not tried before, I usually refer to YouTube and other online resources to learn. I enjoy working with new media and cross-pollinating mediums - recently I’ve been thinking about ways to converge video with sculpture. I think from every challenge rises an opportunity, so when working on my projects I try not to be concerned with making mistakes, stumbling across a process can sometimes lead to the most interesting results.
Your work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Can you share a particularly memorable experience or exhibition that stands out to you?
Having the opportunity to show my work in the group show Futures Past at arebyte Gallery on October 2022 - January 2023 was a special moment for me. Futures Past took the viewer on an immersive journey through the excavated ruins of the future, mimicking archaeological digs and touristic attractions of historical sites. The exhibition presented digital works that encapsulate ideas around the past, present and future. I showed a series of touch interactive Xi-Clone Cards which illustrate cloned and customised animal hybrids. Each card features a transgenic animal created by combining two different species’ DNA, based on real endangered or extinct species. I use the idea of playing cards in the work to address themes of collectibility and ownership, and the problems this can cause when applied to animal beings such as speciesism.
Looking ahead, what are some of your upcoming projects or exhibitions that you're particularly excited about?
I’m excited to be starting a master's degree at the RCA in September. I can’t wait to be studying again and to be working alongside so many other creatives. I’m currently focusing on finishing any work in progress so I’m ready to start a new body of work for the course. Next in the pipeline is a sculpture based on pollinators and the factory farming of insects.
Interview by @viowake