Arts and Culture: Art Critique Boyd Webb Darwin.

Essay by dogfaceCollege, UndergraduateA-, July 2003

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"One snake has been mutilated in Darwin, but the other is still active. Doing what is not so clear; nether is the link with Darwin. Or have we missed something?"

This is curators Jenny Harper's description of Boyed Webb's digital art piece Darwin (1998). It does seem that she has missed something, it seems that she has missed quite a lot, that or she has not given his piece much thought.

Darwin presents two seemingly plastic snakes and one has been mutilated by the other. Harper is very observant there. The snake that is still active carried in its mouth a pair of bloody scissors and seems to be breaking the surface of what appears to be water. The other snake floats on the water in many pieces with its tail in its mouth.

The reference Darwin seems quite obvious. Darwin was a philosopher in the late 1880's.

His philosophy was concerned with the evolutionary process that the lesser should give way to the greater. This dogma was used to justify the slaughter of thousands of natives during a time of colonization. It also stated that should a greater being come from the heavens we (we being white European men, the highest on the evolutionary ladder) should give way to them and we will go quietly to our graves. The perished snake on the left of the piece is shown as the inferior snake. It does not seem that a struggle has taken place and that the fact that this snake has its tale in its moth shows that it has sacrificed its self quietly for the superior snake to make way in the evolutionary process.

Many of Webb's photographic digital art work in this exhibition focus on the folly of human beings. Harper says "Webb uses unknown...