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Digital Sunrise

Sebastian Trew




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Digital Sunrise is a short English-style version of a Haiku poem which captures life in the COVID years. In 2020, physically and socially isolated, many people increasingly went online to connect with others to manage their loneliness and isolation. In 2021, social and physical distancing has become normalised, and a life lived online is an accepted or standardised way of living - hence the play on ISO Standards and isolation and placement of the numbers interspersed in each line of the text, which mirror the COVID years. Towards the end of 2022, with the pandemic ending we see a global shift to increased physical movement and reconnections face-to-face. Here, we are presented with a sense of hope that we might restart or reset ourselves, at either an individual or collective level, and reboot or reconfigure our ways of living or how we consider life. Perhaps, appreciating past ways of living or understanding better our limits as humans.

The images were selected for purpose from the collection of Dennis Trew. Each sequence in Digital Sunrise has been retrofitted and interpreted to represent a year, from 2020 through to 2022. As people increasingly turned to online life, each image of a digital sun grows and increases in vibrancy, affirming or strengthening our digital life and digital existence. The imagery alongside the text suggests, that as we transfer or upload ourselves and our lives online, we are not only digitalising human life, but digitalising the world and our understanding of it - how we conceptualise and view our existence as human beings, physically and emotionally, is increasingly reshaped or ‘re-programmed’. From the organic particles and matter that’s rooted in our natural or organic existence on planet earth, these are transferred and ‘re-written’ as a series of numbers and coded to an online version of ourselves and our world.


What Digital Sunrise shows us, is that despite an increasingly artificial or digitalised life, one of the most natural and familiar objects to human beings, the sun, must also rise and set in an online, digital world. Not only do these images offer us a glimpse into what this world might look like, but for some, what these images might evoke - a sense of hope – filtered through the numbers, the coded form of our new and increasingly normalised digital existence there remains some elements of our past world, our time before COVID.

Text and poem by Sebastian Trew and Digital Sunrise images by Dennis Trew, digitalised and edited for purpose by Sebastian Trew.

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