Ben Cain, text in relation to the exhibition The Diary of Drowning (PM Gallery, Zagreb)

The greek notion of ‘Kinema’ connects to both motion and emotion.1

‘Space plus motion plus body, equals a cinematic experience’.2

‘I believe in Eisenstein’s notion that all cinema happens in your head. It is not the authorial gesture as such, but the reception that is inscribed in the montage of images’.3

Echo
There is only a very small delay, a small lapse or gap between the point when the sound is produced and when it is received, or heard.

The circular domed space works as a whispering gallery, which means that when one person speaks or whispers on one side of the gallery, that same voice can be heard clearly on the opposite side of the room.

Once you understand that you are hearing and thus implicated in a potentially private and personal scene that initially appears to be taking place at a distance, or elsewhere -a sound or voice apparently without an origin ie. seemingly dislocated- you begin to look for its cause or place, expecting there to be an object or physicality connected to the sound .

Chasing your tail / place
Walking in a circle, you quickly become aware of your own movement. It is partly this constant movement that helps to set in motion not only all the elements in the space, but also the space itself. The elements, including the viewer circumnavigate one another. Since the centre of the gallery is an open space without a floor, you are only able to walk around the edges of the room in order to get from one point to another point. Since the space is circular, all those ‘points’ can look similar, therefore leading to a sense of drifting in a continuum or loop.

The sound runs continuously, with slight alterations (such as digital glitches and pitch change) during its 6 minute cycle. The palpable bass tones situate a calm and controlled interior environment, even a vacuum, an atmosphere from which you are able to look out upon another exterior space. However, the hint of an interior also leads to questioning whether you are not in fact also placed in the midst of that exterior.

Projected images of open sea rotate at a constant speed around the curved walls. Another static image is only visible at certain points during ones orbit of the gallery. Another video image shows a lighthouse, – casting light which momentarily reveals a truth about ‘where you are’, and then once again leaves you in darkness with the only co-ordinates being those suggested by the remaining sound.

Drowning (‘between two ends and one beginning’ 4, and vice versa)
What is being shown here is not necessarily a specific physical landscape or representation of a place, but more a mental state, an ‘intimate geography’ which is not simply an expression of the author’s experience.

The state of delirium , or at least wandering -pleasurable or not- evoked through being immersed in, or concentrated on the elements of colour, light, sound and motion can be thought of as a productive state, and might typically be attributed to an artist-author, but in this case might easily also be attributed to a reader, or viewer-listener.

Developing an understanding of a place-state is not so much about picturing fantasy and escape as about communicating and actualising the processes of producing the work, and also about turning that process into experience.

 

  1. Dictionary of Word Origins. John Ayto. Pub. Bloomsbury, 1990.
  2. Thyza Nichols Goodeve. ‘The Mobile Muse’. T N Goodeve in conversation with Giuliana Bruno on the subject of Bruno’s new book ‘Atlas of Emotion : Journeys into Art, Architecture and Film’. Parkett 66, 2002.
  3. Giuliana Bruno. Ibid.
  4. Extract from a title of an earlier work by Tina Gverovic.