The Wrong Geyser
Photographic Print Lightbox Installation

Belfast School of Art
Annual Degree Show
University of Ulster, 2016

Photographs Courtesy of Christin White

The light-boxes combine images of the contemporary and traditional sublime creating a third space in reflections in the gallery floor. It is against this background that the force field of the contemporary sublime provides a moment of heightened experience underpinned by forces which are beyond our control – a moment of transcendence.

However, the discourse of the sublime has been tainted by association with inauthentic mass culture and become trivialised. As Baudrillard suggests in his seminal 1981 text Similacra and Simulation: “we no longer require a basis in reality, and the hierarchy between the real and the copy has been overturned.”

The companion degree show work ‘Geyser’ is a looped projection on the gallery floor of a geothermal spring. Installed in a dark space with a deliberate absence of sound, the viewer is asked to create their own narrative to explain the lack of physical properties.

Using the strategy of abjection in method of installation displaying the geothermal internal cavities in a way that has the effect of swallowing up the viewer – the round format of projection in my installation, places the subject under a microscope, more like a microscopic image and acts as a re-run of a past experience whilst becoming a brand new experience for the first time viewer.

For instance Mona Haltom’s video installation “Le Corps Etranger”, 1994 creates an abject vantage that destabilises boundaries and places the images from inside the body and features aspects of biotourism – transforming the body into landscapes, to physical boundaries of territory and land, rendering the invisible visible.

There is a connection here where the electronic perception of nature is conveyed, where the micro becomes the macro and in this with our wonderment and admiration of the digital the viewer is beckoned toward this creation of a physical space one enters, in aim to create a tenor where the viewer feels like a force is pulling them in, to be engulfed in the interaction between the hyperreality and the mimic. There is also an interaction with the cylindrical space as the viewer becomes a foreign body entering the space further allowing another level of interpretation of the foreign as a foreigner in a hyperreal re-adaptation of the original experience.

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