Image and sound installation

In these photographic and sound art installations, I explored the ambiguous experience of traumatic memories through visual and musical labyrinths. The labyrinth can be experienced in two contrasting ways. In a literal sense, a labyrinth has two viewpoints according to the beholder’s perspective. A viewpoint from the inside which makes the labyrinth seem impenetrable. A viewpoint from outside which let the viewer experience the labyrinth as a complex and logical structure.2_Photograph taken at the exhibition Aporia (2013), Divergent Dissonance (2015_06_08 14_51_10 UTC)

The ambiguous experience of traumatic memories can be connected to the labyrinth as contrasting experience. On one hand, traumatic memories are a delayed response to trauma which is only triggered in situations reminiscent to the original traumatic event. On the other hand, the recollection of trauma entails a being aware of the post-traumatic acting out in order to work through the difficult emotions.

The photomontages are based on recurrent dreams in which I move through buildings with constantly changing interiors, creating a labyrinth-like experience and evoking emotions such as perplexity, helplessness, and anxiety. Various compositional strategies are applied in both the photomontages and soundscapes to simulate the impenetrable experience of a labyrinth.

 

 

 

The blurred boundaries between past and present, inside and outside, is a characteristic of the symptomatic “acting out” of the post-traumatic experience. The reception of art representing trauma can result in an over-identification with the post-traumatic emotions expressed in the artwork. This over-identification can transfer the shock of trauma through the structure of representation. In order to prevent the over-identification or over-appropriation, the viewer must communicate from a critical distance.  The labyrinth as metaphor is a central theme in the photomontages and sound installation. In these works an exploration of the inter-subjective process takes place and compositional strategies are used to create doubling ‘effects’. The aim of these artworks is to create a potential space for self-awareness and self-reflection in order to create distance and reflect critically on the problematic process of trauma.

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Photomontage and sound installation which form part of a body of artworks in the exhibition (Dis)place. 

This ‘doubling effect’ is further installed as two of the photomontages are accompanied with composed music, heard through a set of headphones. The imagery in Divergent Dissonance (2012) consists of photographs of an empty hallway from different viewpoints superimposed into an interconnected and multi-point perspective composition. The layered interior evokes a disorienting and immersive labyrinthine experience.

In addition, the music heard through a set of headphones consists of different tonal chord intervals gradually regressing towards atonal sounds. The aim of the music is to provoke an unsettling yet stimulating experience. On one hand, the music emphasises the immersive quality of the photomontage. The regressing intervals create a sense of time and movement which adds to the three-dimensional virtual space of the photomontage. On the other hand, the act of listening creates an awareness of bodily sensations. This awareness of the body becomes unsettling as the participant is trying to absorb sound and image concurrently. This unsettling response is a result of the tension between sound and image which resides unresolved. Furthermore, tension is created through the disorienting superimposed interior depicted in the photomontage and the atonal sound heard through the headphones which accentuate the unsettling experience.

In comparison, Dis(en)close (2012) consists of the same interconnected and multiperspective interior photographs. Contrary to the music in Divergent Dissonance (2012), the music is divided; part one is a minor melodic progression descending into a dissonant harmony, whereas part two is a major chord progression with a consonant harmony. The contrast between the first and second part creates a ‘double’ experience. Part one creates an immersive and overwhelming experience, whereas part two creates a rather distant experience where the artwork is experienced as a whole. The contrasting experiences refer to the labyrinth as dual experience. The aim of this contrasting experience is to make the viewer aware of a tensional space between sound and image, artwork and viewer.