What happens if we lose our senses? In times of multispecies extinction and devastating effects caused by climate change, environmental anxiety is a rising problem affecting societies. Solastalgia is a relatively new name describing an emotional distress caused by the loss of ecosystems. It is characterized by a perspective of a fading world, by an experience of the loss of the present. Described as an earth-related state, it reflects the zeitgeist of our time. A perspective of a fading world and the state of fading-away is close to sensory deprivation. Absence of senses, one of the biggest human fears, can lead to intra-mental perception, echolocation and memory flashbacks. Fading Senses is a research project and a photographic essay where Popławska examines how solastalgia affects our mental and emotional health, and researches the implications of the absence of senses on brain mechanisms. Popławska has temporarily lost one of the senses in the past and this deprivation became her intuitive leading guide, which she has applied to her working methods and to the visual language. Turning her research into a speculative narration, she aims to create a mental image of an ungraspable sensation to underline human disconnection from the natural habitat.
Ligia Popławska (b. 1994, Gdańsk, PL) is a visual artist, photographer and art historian who lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Her work focuses on the topics of environmental change and sensory ecology. She researches the parallels between senses, memory and emotional states, in the changing conditions of the post-Anthropocene. Ligia graduated with an MFA in Photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (2020) and BA in Art History from the University of Gdańsk (2016). In 2020, she won the photography prize funded by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, and was awarded a solo exhibition at PhMuseum Days (2021). In 2022, she was selected by FOMU Antwerp for .tiff – Emerging Belgian Photography. Recently, her project Fading Senses won the Decade of Change Award from 1854 Media’s British Journal of Photography. She exhibited at PhMuseum Days (Bologna), FOMU (Antwerp), Photo Open Up (Padua), B-Part Gallery (Berlin), St. Vincent’s (Antwerp), among others. Ligia works as a freelance photo editor and photographer in the field of art, product, interior, architecture, fashion and portrait photography.