How do you choose the images and the details for your video/portraits? How do you get the documentation? Actually, it is only Virginia’s Room that has been presented as an audio visual projection. All the other work is physically experienced as installation. The documentation is from environments constructed with the engagement of the audience in mind. Everything has been put in place by me, or at least that is the case since 9 New Quebec Street (2006). In the recent work I have even built the architectural space, the walls etc.
Your videos are constructed on an alternation of architecture images and sound narrations. In some cases the mix appears claustrophobic, in others more relaxing. Working in this way, do you want to “re-build” the physical reality of the represented architecture? You have picked up on the extent to which the documentation of my installations has become another part of my work, rather than it being simply documentation. The image and sound narrations are as such constructed through re tracing the tracings I constructed for direct experience. So yes, the sense of claustrophobia or another sense has come about in my effort to re-articulate the constructed space in another medium.
courtesy: Courtesy: the artist
In your previous works your interventions were more “sculptural”. Why have you changed your format? The development of my practice has been a long journey. I started out as a painter, then moved towards sculpture, then interventions and now I create environments experienced directly as well as through a secondary process of documentation. However, for me all the previous processes remain present in my current work. I utilise the same way of looking and thinking. It simply expands into other forms. I perceive the change as an outgrowth, an opening. The shift that has taken place is with the boundaries between the work and the audience. The sculptural interventions were encountered, whereas the current work is entered. Previously the audience perceived the threshold. Now they cross thresholds. Projects such as the caravan are both encountered as sculptural interventions and entered. Once inside there are further encounters that lead to further entrances. I would say that I am still doing sculptural interventions, but they intervene upon one another so that it is more difficult to see where a single intervention begins and ends. One leads to another.
Is it fundamental that you occupy spaces for a period before realizing the work? Yes. Whether I am working in a gallery or off site, I spend time getting to know the space. I take a huge amount of photographs. The more I take the closer I look. When I’m working off site I also spend time sweeping and tidying. I am quite particular about the dirt and dust of a piece. I never leave things as I find them in the space. I start by taking everything away even though I might decide to place something back where it was. Clearing is a huge part of my process, even though it often looks more like accumulation. It is when I am tidying that I also notice the patterns of my movement within the space. Familiarising myself with the movements a space directs is essential in understanding where and how I want to pull or intervene on the audiences movement.
In all your work the fil rouge is human traces... and another is the time, never circular but always suspended. What do you think? Yes. My concern is certainly with human traces and human traces are produced through time. Yet as you pointed out earlier, the pieces are out of time. They are abandoned, but I also perceive them as waiting. Waiting for the intruder to disrupt the traces with their human traces. The past inhabitant only emerges through the interception of a viewer. It is then that the work comes to life. The meaning of the work is not inherent within the work itself, but is created through the dialogue the viewer has with the work as they move through it and experience it in their own time and through tracing their own human traces across the traces presented.
courtesy: Courtesy: the artist
In your works you “put” here and there details, traces... you want the viewer to interpret to understand the real owners who live in the spaces you represent. In where to through the presence of some objects the viewer feels the presence of a child. Where to is the most recent phase of an on going project that uses a caravan as its site. Each time I present it, the story is developed. Things are covered, uncovered and added. In many respects it is my homage to Kurt Schwitters’Mertzbau. It is also an antithetic response to Absalon’s “Cells”. To answer your question though, yes, in the recent presentation as where to the presence of a child did emerge through the addition of various toys. However, they were alongside the suggestions of adult life – a man’s jacket and tie hang beside a Monopoly board on a desk, a baby’s toy house and family lie on the floor beside a briefcase. I am interested in the games children play that incorporate representations of stability expected in adult life.
Faeryland to Where is a monochrome? Yes. It was the second manifestation of the caravan. I began by spray painting the entire inside (what was London to Faeryland) grey. Grey is a colour that wants its presence to disappear. It is neither dark nor light. It is the colour of dust, of time settling and covering the past with a blanket. Paint is always a covering for me, like a second skin. Spray painting the interior grey was a covering over of a past. It was a forgetting, but a forgetting that hasn’t really forgotten. Within the grey monochrome environment I inserted a few new objects. These suggested the attempt to create new memories. Memory structures identity, so to forget is to lose part of identity. To chose or to try to forget is the effort to make space to create something else. Yet, in the end it is simply another part of an identity on top of the previous part that is still present even in it’s apparent absence.
I find it difficult to believe that it is possible to truly forget, as an individual or as a society. At the time I was interested in the psychological condition of fugue state, which is a sudden and radical forgetting. I was also working with a man suffering from MS, which affected both his short and his long term memory. He remembered some things very clearly while other events never happened for him, or so it appeared. In both cases I find it difficult to believe that there isn’t a trace of the forgotten somewhere. I can only imagine a temporary loss or misplacement in the archive of memories. As well as being the result of amnesia, my interest in departure and forgetting is as a desire. There are many people who choose to walk out of one life in the hope that they can create a new one somewhere else.
What about your work for Showreelproject.com? “... too old to be playing house, too wise to pray at the shrine she made the lights no longer used...”. That is the title. I’ll talk about it after it has had a public life, not before.