a work of variant degrees
concept- Avi pitchon-
In a tradition of postmodern critique and in inspiration from Jacques Lacan, we ask what is it that the seen is hiding, and what blindspots are created, intentionally or otherwise, by the conventions of the visual? Are visual blindspots related to emotional ones? What is it that we distract ourselves from seeing?
The saturated visibility and sharpness of the conventional visual is distracting us from the validity of our subjective inner eye. Thus, our encounter with photographs both seen and unseen set the scope and framework of this exhibition, where physical, conventional blindness serves as a leading metaphor hinting towards a proposition for a deeper sense of seeing. This encounter captures an intuition. The spoken word, present as an audio “trail” translates and mediates that fleeting yet ever present depth, a void of realization that is visible in the visual as trails, hints – signs left behind of that which is desirable, following Lacan’s ‘Object Petit a’. Precluding sight invites the observer to transcend mere spectatorship; leave a mark, engage and entangle. Our invitation of the viewer to lose sight, therefore, also expresses the desire to push photography beyond eye-seeing.
The photographic work is presented as a continuous stream of images, a mix & match playground based on the infinite possibilities of interlacing one thought to another. This process contains no exclamation points. Each slowly unfolding photographic stream moves according to its own inner rhythm. The tempo is subjective, not declarative. This work-process and its particular look and feel, reflects the desire to limit, blur and otherwise interfere with normal eyesight in order to attain that elusive, subtly subjective (and thus intuitively honest, truthful, close to home) quality of movement, tone and volume – a culmination of softness; the softness that unveils behind from, or is trapped by a misleading sharpness. This process led us towards abandoning the visual towards the touch and towards sound. Seeing becomes sensing. The blinding white origin filled with a whiteness vibe, is expressed in the “light hole” at the heart of the exhibition. The structure of a white dome (alluding to snow blindness, but also to the barren lunar landscape and to the shape of the eyeball) reveals a confined, secret space, flooded with light. Within it, images corresponding to this overwhelming whiteness are screened on the dome’s inside. Here, the journey to the source is completed.
Alex De Jong- Artist statement-
About two years ago i went blind and at first i thought that i wanted to kill myself. Of course the interesting thing was that i was a photographer too. I felt like a stranger, a tourist, in the world of blindness and a stranger in the world of sight that i had just left.
I belonged no where, i was in a no-place all the time. Space around me dropped away, the feeling of my own body dropped away, and as my brain went about slowly adapting itself to not eye-seeing, i became an ear, a hand, touch, became the wind on my skin and the rain, as i started to navigate an endless ocean. Until one day i thought that i could actually make photographs of what i felt under my feet. the guiding lines, broken stones, anything that i could feel beneath me, my anchor to the earth. I found that i still loved the sound the shutter was making, even if i could not see my own photographs, that were slowly fading from my memory, one by one. Just like faces had started doing.
There is a dark space there, that only seems empty, but where everything is potential. A space of only becoming, everything flow, nothing fixed, all relative, a travel through time. sound carries this, and scent, and touch, the wind against the skin, a stolen bit of conversation, the sound of rain and of thunder and of trees. That is a place where you cannot get to through only seeing. You have to look deeper, you have to look beyond. Laetitia saw my images and hauled them and me into the light. At first I distrusted this, because keeping the photographer alive in me was such a hard won thing. However what I hadn’t counted on was tracing how this work, as a gesture both is touched and touches itself on the innermost lifestream, the flow of the heart, the way the mind perceives directly our own and others’ true nature. A dialogue is needed to bring this out, it needs the hands of two people working to touch on everything that finds its place in the heart.
Laetitia Boulud- Artist statement-
Now it’s clear to me that in my pre-sighted memory, I saw something that struck me. Something I shouldn't have seen. This froze my eyes open and my being became alert. It is as if i saw a secret. That caused a feeling of loneliness, That moment determined my way of being. that alert sensor-like state leads me to longing for rest, and a search for that other being to explain to me what that was, that i saw.
At first constructing the light hole was about frozen memories, icy, cold, white and harsh, blinding. It was a strong structure that i wanted,like an igloo. somewhere I knew could melt, if I stayed there long enough, watching it and feeding it constantly. So there I lived a parallel, inner life with the notion of sharpness, awareness, through the cracks of the light hole and the change in the light that was coming from the out side which most of the time was complete darkness, the world of the "others".
Over time i met Alex. He has shared with me a way of looking at that by showing me his universe, the dark parts and the white hole. His offer was to keep the fire going while I take care of my inner self, and go into the light hole. i trusted him, since I knew he has some of my memories registered somewhere in his subconsciousness, as he had shot photographs of them before meeting me. This encouraged me to invite all the pre-conscious presences to augment those vivid memories. The only difference was that I was no longer isolated.