Sarah Sands Phillips
1984
Toronto
Canada

Lives in Tokyo, Japan


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Métis artist and poet. My practice is grounded in materiality and engaged in an interdisciplinary, process-oriented investigation of intuitive sites of presence and absence, intention and the skin.

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Joshua Deru and Sarah Sands Phillips

Possible Futures, 2019

Possible Futures appeared as part of the exhibition Diffracting Matters, produced by members of environmental organization the Flute & the Bowl, and the Oxford Society of Art and Ecology.


“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thought think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.”
—Donna Haraway


Diffracting is a useful metaphor that allows us to consider difference outside the ordinary paradigm of binary opposition, and to explore the potential of differentially creating new patterns of thought. Diffraction also lends a novel semantic to scientific knowledge, in line with developments in quantum field theory: instead of a static science reflecting an objective world or a disinterested measurement, we move into a space of embedded involvement with the world we seek to understand. In this world, we cannot remain impartial observers – our very observation entangles us within its unravelling.



—Anya Gleizer
Possible Futures

Joshua Deru and Sarah Sands Phillips are each preoccupied with light and material. Deru in his practice as a material scientist, is studying the effect of light, charge, and heat on developing solar panel technologies. Sands Phillips is a visual artist, whose work often engages materials that have been weathered by their impact with time, and imbued with unspoken histories. In what could be considered a crisis of our time, artists and scientist are coming together to form new ways of thinking, patterning together the linkages and commonalities that may allow us to move forward in our understanding and sense of agency with regard to climate change.

For Deru and Sands Phillips, their collaboration and discussion, while engaging the details and techniques of each of their respective disciplines, they found common ground in the
poetic. The residues of their labs and studios, are the subject of their exploration as together they searched for hidden clues and debris that would provide insight into the world and their practices. 

In the development of solar panels, sample materials are charged with light, and the interference of that light against the film helps researchers like Deru, map and record progress. Using photography and scanning technologies allowed each to catch various forms of light interference. In her curious handling of a collection of Deru’s lab materials, Sands Phillips recognized this interference occurring in her documentation and exploration of petri dishes and panel samples, leaving their history in the fibres of the photographs.

These images allowed Deru and Sands Phillips to further investigate the material structure, composition, and organization of solar panel utilization, and how the nature of their collaboration has been a catalyst for a poetic pondering of possible futures.