Breathing down your neck

Installation for Mma : Clubs, Melbourne 2004

Video documentation of a live art action, whereby the audience where invited to breath on a perspex plate with a person on the other side. The work had mirror plates on the wall behind and the audience where reflected within the action.

The work was the final in the Velvet light series which explored the dynamic of the breath and experiencing the breath in a reflective manner.

The work was concieved months prior to the SARS outbreak but was actioned around this time, when the notion of a stranger breathing on you could cause fatal harm, this added another element to the reading at the time.

velvet light series III

Digital images on perspex and mirror 2004: Images 80 x80cm mirror dimensions variable.

This is the largest and most complex in the velvet light series. It has been difficult to represent in documentation, as the manner in which it interacts with the surrounding space and its own image, making it illusive. A door was removed from the back of the window space (10mt wide +3mt high) and covered to allow only the 80 cm hole in which a mirror box inverted into the next space behind the wall. Then mirror ran vertically along the wall to meet the two large images that were sitting at right angles from the wall.

As people walked past the installation they became part of it, as did the passing transport and weather patterns of the day. The image shimmered and interacted within the box where the female image was placed and outside where the two males where. The triptych then darkened and flattened at night, the internal box receded and from a distance looked like a flat dark surface. The external images became faded under the brighter lights but projected large shadows of themselves on to the walls, spreading across the space.

velvet light series II

Digital images (clear) on perspex with mirror bases 2004: dimensions variable each cube 40cm.

There is a powerful tool in the third person, which is created by observing someone observing him or herself. A disquieting sense of voyeurism about a persons private introspection.

In these installations sharp reflections make it appear the sharp reflections make it appear as if the mirrored subjects are breathing themselves into life. It is a restrained distance that is imparted, a strong sense of viewing from behind a wall at an intimate moment. As the audience get closer they too become part of the subject and then sense their own part within the world of others and the space between.

velvet light series I

Digital prints on clear perspex or mirror 2004: 40cm x 40cm.

In this work I aimed to dissolve audience inhibition by gently and subtly calling them towards reflections and refraction of light so they became enmenshed within the network of reflected and projected imagery. The images on the clear perspex projected onto the walls like slides, at first it appears hard to discern where the image is coming from as the horizontal plane of the clear perspex image is hidden from the eye and only the shadow play on the wall is evident. Then when investigating the clear boxes, the mirror at the base absorbs the image and projects it downward and within the supporting base, to appear like a hole.

As the audience explores the work they also find themselves within it. The photographs work as a complimentary engagement with the other materials. The mirror makes illusion and reality interchangeable, creating uncanny spaces in which to observe the image. The photographs are clearer in the mirror than they are as a surface to observe. The projected content is easier to explore, while trying to observe detail on the actual image becomes very difficult, it shimmers and changes, interacts with the surrounds and the observer.

velvet light series

Digital prints 52 x 66 cm and digital prints on clear perspex or mirror 40cm x 40cm 2002 –2004:

‘velvet light’ is a series of images and exhibitions which explored the breath and interstitial space , using a combination of photography and sculpture. The series was based around sculptural installations that utilised photography, mirror and translucent materials. It is an ongoing body of work that builds on itself through the reapplication of concepts and materials in new contexts.

The photographic material is derived from situations that portray intimate/interior moments where there is a sense of transitional boundaries. The images refer to the mysterious spaces between the body and its external environment and the relationship a person may have with their reflection. The image shows the person as fragments of reference, their profile says one thing about them, their reflection another. The myriad of surfaces and angles with which we can be observed is at play within the portraits. On first observation the one person appears as two and the moment reads in a more intimate/ sexual way. It is also confounding how there is a reverberating dialogue between the same person, we attempt to read a conversation from one image to the other but it is not available, as it is a singular conversant thought only available to the sitter.