Or an Island or a Boat
What sorts of characteristics might be said to ‘characterise’ or define a place? Definitions of places, the nature of characteristics that define a place are invariably both very general and quite specific at the same time. Without recourse to stereotype then it might seem quite impossible to ‘define’ a place. But what sort of ‘place’ are we talking about, that’s an important question. The place that’s being alluded to, and in a very instable way staged, here is a place that frustrates definition chiefly because it’s a notion, home or the place where we imagine we should belong. The place that we exist in, belong to, inhabit is presented here as a set of interdependent variables that suggest cultural history, unreliable memory, absent states of mind, and maps that might not look very much like conventional maps. The state of being ungrounded is ubiquitous, it’s contemporary and familiar. In this case ungrounded doesn’t mean unfounded, in fact here the subject is founded on (and formed through) all sorts of experiences and histories that are also themselves unmoored, so that ultimately an ungrounded subject might be more likely to experience state-less (geographical, not mental) reverie rather than disintegration and disenfranchisement.
The voice is itself a place, a set of signs that indicate where it’s been, how long it’s been there, and even who it’s been spending time with. However, the voice can be capricious and chameleon, flirting with fantasies of past lives and inventing possible futures for itself as and when it desires. The gradual forming and reforming of a place, and of a subject is at the core of this work, and the work that results from working with a voice trainer will focus specifically upon the process of locating a true or natural voice. The process of forming a voice is a once about forming an independent thing, and forming a person.
The story goes that he played himself, just with a very different tone of voice. For each word he wanted to speak out loud he needed to swallow first, speak the word backwards and only then he was able to transform it into the desired tone. He imagined that they were on the ocean ship, with no connections to the land. Rolling back and forth, up and down. To change the tone was easy. And the lightness, he thought, was also important.
This gallery is a ship, a place that moves, that floats. It seeks and longs for shores but does not reach them. The work is dealing with the imaginings of a place, a distant place or a place near by, the one that one lives in, the one which feels to be so far away, the one you long for, the one that is perhaps lost. The voice attempts to describe it, recalls the memory of it and projects into the future the image of something new.
How does something start? A land? It’s people? What are they made of? Colours this time perhaps.
There is a structure in the space, functioning as partial obstacle, as a form that multiplies space, and as the support for a small screen for a video projection. What we see are in the video are places merged together, layered over each other. On the other side of the structure there are swatches of colour, fabric, things brought together in order to build something from scratch.
Next to the wall is a platform, a raft, which holds small samples of colours, various shades of blues. It is a collection really, which floats.
There is also a voice in the space. It is being trained to be something or someone, someone from a particular place, to talk about a place, to be someone specific or someone closer to that place, someone new or someone forgotten.
The paintings are there too, some in negative, some traces, some grouped together. They include figures that float, fall, or swim. Some paintings are only colours, different shades of blue, no marks and no figures, and some are enlarged details of places, in duotone. They form small collections, research into the previous incarnations of one place and the beginning of something new.