“Particle Paradise” borrows its name from a downloadable video game modification that enables users to hack a customized gaming experience via a modified code embedded within the existing code. A mod alters game content to operate in a manner different from the original by augmenting or completely changing it into a new and previously unrealized version.
The photographs present an aestheticized and often oppressive present where objects, gestures, and products overlap and collide. While reality used to be something that could be challenged, it is now simply unrecognizable. The ability to acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world is increasingly difficult as our own self-organizing awareness collapses under the weight of any number of alternate possibilities and realities. We choose to believe a modified present informed by desire and circumstance that in turn curates a future we knowingly ingest. What remains is a fluid and workable image revolving as an unfixed entity in an unfixed reality.
Using multiple-exposure, layering, in-camera editing, screens, and cut paper constructions, the images in “Particle Paradise” reach out of a photographed “fixed moment” as they undercut the psychology of perception. As Costa moves his camera through bodies, objects, and shapes, he not only learns what they are made of but also how they can be altered to represent a more malleable version of themselves.
A particle paradise is a search for a perfect paradise; a faster, sleeker, shinier abyss driven by constant consumption that unfastens the reality it replaces. It is a desire for what lies ahead, always just out of reach.