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The Illusion of Purpose


This intriguing collection of photographs by Victoria J Dean of anonymous obelisks, columns, and cairn-like sculptural forms in various states of repair, offers us no explanation of their intended purpose and keeps quiet their precise locations. Instead, they ignite our curiosity. What connects them? Some are situated on the very edge of the land, looking out to sea but it is unclear if they all are. One is a pillbox, another looks like the entrance to a decommissioned underground monitoring post – are others waymarkers, beacons, memorials, landmarks, or part of some kind of abandoned defence infrastructure? Can you get inside? Is there anything underneath?


Dean intends that their massive forms offer viewers the space to question the relevance of the physical in our increasingly virtual age. She writes: 'Technology is restructuring our communication methods, transforming our perceptions and interactions with our environment, and rendering the physical realm comparatively cumbersome and slow. Disconnected from the modern digital world, these material structures and the systems in which they once functioned are obsolete. With the simplicity and directness of a symbolic form, each structure withholds its message, alluding to a relic from a forgotten language. The Illusion of Purpose explores ideas of materiality, monumentality and the sculptural, questioning the relevance of the physical in our increasingly virtual age, and in a world of communication hijacked by technology.' 


Published by Another Place Press


Perfect Bound

48 pages


230 x 190mm 
Fedrigoni papers: 350gsm Satin cover, 170gsm Uncoated text 
Edition of 150 



Victoria J Dean | The Illusion of Purpose

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