JUST !0 MINUTES 2007
The banality of everyday happening (going through the isolating bubble of a car wash) interjected with radio sound bites about the horror of war, imitating real life experience and emphasises the comparative luxury and security of western lives.
AURA 2008 and VISION MACHINE 2008
Aura and Vision Machine, both video loops, are a natural progression from BLUE exploring themes evolving from my preoccupation with the Iraq war. My concerns/ideas focus around new technologies, our obsession and dependency on (and the dominance of) the screen in our digital age. In Aura, an empty office chair ‘gazes’ at a blank wall which, as the ambient light fades to darkness, slowly reveals a panel of light ... a screen/ window/ mirror/ void. In Vision Machine, an un-tuned TV flickers continuously, and with lowering ambient light levels, becomes a bright, white eye staring back at the viewer. TV and chair are centralised, iconic, even godlike.
Titles and concepts of these videos reference the writings of Paul Virilio, Walter Benjamin and Jean Baudrillard. all of whom debate the effects of new technologies on societies. Virilio argues that technological development owes much to the need for simulated war and space travel. Baudrillard speaks of representation as an ‘aura of simulacrum’. In other words, the world is concealed behind an orgy of images. Virtual reality has swallowed it’s own mirror. Though Virilio and Baudrillard’s arguments are powerfully negative and doom ridden. they are dramatic and seductive and draw our attention to the massive changes we are undergoing. We cannot forget the democratising effects and access to information now available but we cannot overlook the disadvantages. Reality TV, simulated or interactive sex and ball games, avatars, Google World, Google Streetview, surveillance cameras, data banks, “on line’ identity theft, scams and viruses are just a few…
Video of more than two hundred tea lights, slowly burning out to reveal grey, metal shells, forming a barren scape, reminiscent of a bombed city) will be projected at one side of the room. The ominous sound of fluttering flames will play, then fall silent as the flames go out.
(Video, colour, sound., 8 minutes). Words from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.
Beersheba is both a figment of Calvino's imagination and, in reality, a modern city with an ancient past. Believed to have been named by Abraham after seven wells, the city has never lost importance and has been the site of several battles. Since 1948 it has changed from Palestinian to Israeli hands.
Calvino's words were written in 1972 and perhaps, it was a coincidence that he chose to name this miniature portrait of a city, Beersheba. We do not know. Calvino rejected realism, instead using irony, allegory, a kind of fantasy of darkness and light., of heavens and sewers, of celestial and subterranean. A myriad of layers upon layers, time upon time, evolving according to needs and circumstance, trial and error, terror and turmoil.
As we glide through a barely recognisable, glimmering, haunted city, watching, intruding, curious, we are outsiders, looking in on another watery world, floating above and below. We understand that we cannot judge. We are all implicated by our desires to seek out our own idyllic existence. We are all part of the great cycle of consumerism, greed, pollution.