Kit Wise's recent work comprises an exploration of the role of contemporary art in ‘witnessing’ events of disaster, trauma or crisis, while also including a move towards interdisciplinary projects, including research into interdisciplinary education. Works have addressed recent air disasters as well as the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that followed the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake in 2011. Using open source archive photographs taken by American military surveillance aircraft soon after the event, the work explores the relationship between montage as both disaster and studio practice, re-flooding the images to consider how we interpret and respond to the documentation of crisis.
In other work, Wise has collected popular representations of archetypal idyllic landscapes from open source archives, international agencies, and online photographic resources or, in some cases, images that he has taken himself while travelling, to explore the possibility of discovering arcadia within the digital age. Wise’s work is at once complex and accessible; part collage, part mash-up, infinitely layered, texturally and conceptually rich. He examines our increasing acceptance of all things digitally synthetic; our self-perpetuating desire for the fabricated and the faux.
Kit Wise has seen a lot of the world, and he’s made a lot of his art about how he has handled that experience… In Wise’s work desire travels a trade route between sensation and sign, as the world simultaneously expands and contracts like Alice’s Wonderland when object of consumption becomes object of veneration. Eat me, drink me, work with me. The artist is both a tourist and a trader.
Edward Colless, Australian Art Collector, October 2005.