Hypnos and the Dissolution Process (2021)



with Victoria Ahrens, Carol Wyss, Victoria Arney

Hypnos and the Dissolution Process (2021)

6 monitor video collage installation, sculptured book pieces, photoetchings on stilt supports and photographs with hand applied rock pigment

In Greek mythology, Hypnos, the god of sleep, lived in a cave at the base of the river Lethe (Forgetfulness), a place where night and day meet. In this multichannel video installation, moving and still images merge in a hypnotic and mesmerizing scene. They overlap and dissolve, revealing and obscuring the rocky sea caves and coastlines of the South West of the UK and the mountain ranges of the Altiplano in South America. Both geological landscapes belong in parts to the Jurassic age, 145 million years ago, united by the rock formations of deep time deposits. Victoria spent the last few years travelling to these precarious places, creating films and collecting photographic images and mineral pigments, to use in this installation. Her works, both photographic and filmic depict the processes of using the rocks, amongst them: shale, chalk, iron oxide deposits, pink granite, mudstone and yellow sandstone as a tool to draw and frottage the surface of the photographic image, drawing on histories of colour photography and the loss of touch that the digital implies. Her hand, blue, with the inverted colours of touched negatives, detail the sensual and embodied process of hand pigmenting her images, a mediation of surfaces. Each screen, adds a layer of strata to the installation, with minimal sounds of the sea, the rocks being rubbed together and the action of her hand placing and rubbing the pigments onto the photographic surface. At times, these merging screens, dissolve the differences between the still and the moving, instead inviting the viewer to a soporiphic, and otherworldly encounter with landscapes that are in the process of slow change. These are landscapes where the human and mineral collide, where histories of art, markmaking, the cavernous and the underworld collapse, in a close observation of the surface and depth of these rock formations. Caves as underlands express those inner and hidden crevices of our mind, of death and burial, as well as myth and intrigue: places that refract and reflect light, places where night and day meet, places we forget are there.  Constantly evolving, looping, the video installation reminds us of our incidental place in the world, our bones formed of the same minerals that we overlook in the natural world. These are dreamscapes, yet real places that conjur a liminal dialogue through time- deep time, the unfathomable time span of geology, as well as the accelerated viewing of the digital world in the Anthropocene, where our experience of the natural world is often through the screen. As we descend into the dreamscape are we forgetting the sense of real touch and the significance of the weight of our ecological histories?

video projection, Hypnos and the Dissolution Process (2021), looped collage of still and moving images, inverted colours (16:9, 14′ 08 mins)


Exogene (2021) Photographic C-type print on copy paper, hand pigmented with sandstone, and photo etching on wooden stilt supports