Between Here and There 

 

The works in this exhibition explore different experiences, and concepts, of landscape. Landscapes can be described ‘objectively’, as made up of physical phenomena, like soil, rocks, streams, mountains, lakes, plants and trees, forms that create a terrain which we can move within and inhabit. At the same time, landscapes can be viewed and interpreted very differently – as a construct of our perception, preconceptions, imagination, as something subjective, that fixes all those physical phenomena into ‘a way of seeing’. Our experiences of landscape can also be contrasted in terms of separation versus involvement – between the far away, the disembodied gaze, and alternative approaches which emphasize immersion within landscape spaces, with the near, with participation. In contemporary experiences of landscape, the emergence of the internet, of global frameworks of electronic connectivity, can be seen to have shifted and reframed all of these tensions. This project, in its entirety, reflects on these shifts, juxtaposing different approaches to proximity and remoteness, exploring actions and processes undertaken in the form of making artworks which respond to diverse experiences of landscape.

Within this creative process grew a unique experiment, a collaboration between a female human, and non-human web cameras. Initiated by an encounter with a road traffic website, which monitors the condition of roads country-wide in Iceland, the project began with an exploration of the experience of viewing ‘remote’ landscape representations through making hand drawn responses to grainy roadside images found on the website road.is. On this website photographs from web cameras are posted at regular fifteen-minute intervals, day and night, year in year out, presenting a continual stream of small fluctuations and changes in the conditions of various Icelandic roads and the landscapes they inhabit. The drawings, set up a sensory dialogue, between the computer-mediated world, with its utilitarian, ostensibly objective representations, and the physical, experiential one – a dialogue that would later in the project be developed into a kind of performance in which the web camera adopts the role of a co-producer of images – images which contain the physical presence of the artists body standing in the Icelandic landscape.  This juxtaposition of creative approaches (drawing and performance) introduced a series of reflections upon the constructions of subjectivities, in relation to contrasting experiences of landscape, which draw upon conditions of detachment, embodiment and sexual difference, moving towards a renewed understanding of what it is to look at, and re-present, images of landscape now.

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