Laura Thompson is a photographer and artist creating modern day mythological narratives. Exploring the dislocation of our senses, she casts yeti-like creatures wearing costumes made of recycled materials against the spectre of vast, scenic landscapes.
“There was a particular tribe which was able to see Venus in full daylight, something which to me would be utterly impossible and incredible…Later on I looked into old treatises on navigation belonging to our own civilisation and it seems that sailors of old were perfectly able to see the planet in full daylight. Probably we could still do so if we had a trained eye.”
– Claude Lévi-Strauss, Myth and Meaning.
Technology expands perception. Air travel turns a journey of thousands of miles into a matter of hours. Google Maps shows us the way through unfamiliar city streets. Over Skype we can see and hear our loved ones wherever we and they are. But our new abilities have come at a price. Our physical senses have deadened. Laura Thompson came across this conception in a study by Claude Levi Strauss, which described how members of a particular tribe could see Venus in daylight. The anthropologist noted that this was a skill that Western sailors had had in the past, but lost over time since they no longer used it to navigate.