ARP: Absorbing red photons 2016

Curator's Note

ARP is an intimate single-screen video installation exploring what might be a stake in an act of submersion in a space of perpetual darkness. The video uses footage shot from a descent, 2,000 ft. below sea level, off the coast of Roatan, Honduras and presents the view from the submersible’s thirty-inch porthole. The video piece ARP presents the view from the submersible’s thirty-inch porthole. No human presence is ever seen, only the intermittent sound of released oxygen and creaking steel, reinforcing the separation of the confined and claustrophobic space of viewing - the sub, and the fluid space of submersion. At the beginning of ARP the audience is confronted by a totally black screen and then the submersible’s headlights are turned on, producing an oscillating form of succulent midnight blue. The video submerges the audience into, and then travels through the palpable blue-black dynamic materiality of the ocean. The viewer has no frame of reference; there is no stabilising view of the seabed, nor lingering shots of the myriad creatures that swim by. The audience becomes unmoored from the land – the terrestrial, and known centralities. The accompanying audio track is in turns discordant, counterpoising the image and then moves to a more sonorous state as the audience is pulled further into the deep. ARP aims to challenge our centrality in relation to a scene in which we become completely immersed, but severed. One in which we ultimately cannot locate our gaze, our sense of self. It asks what it means to be surrounded in space that it is impossible to inhabit. The piece questions the primacy of the visual and our relations with a space of alterity, where everyday dynamics need to be redefined.

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