Genine is a key person in the QUT curatorial team for The Joy of Loss. Following the tech week, I asked if she might be interested in contributing to the blog. In this entry, Genine writes about her observations and perceptions of the week...
Observations of The Joy of Loss Tech/Development week
We started the week by working through the material practicalities of David’s primarily ethereal work, namely, the fabric surfaces that capture the silent interview projections. I cut the polysheen into six metre drops, fixed these to hanging devices. Then David, Blair and I spent the afternoon lowering the rig, arranging the drops, raising the rig, observing, contemplating, discussing and then re-arranging.
The fabric drops are 120cm wide and are positioned in a way that is meant to fragment but not interfere with the 5 metre projected imagery. The fabric is translucent so that the projected image can be seen from both sides. Since the polysheen is not transparent, any overlapping of fabric casts a shadow on the drop behind. Eventually, we found that the best configuration was to align the drops side by side whilst staggering them in distance from the projector. This added an additional three dimensionality to the faces of the silent speakers. It was interesting to observe that the reflective nature of the fabric revealed light waves from the black and white projection as colour frequencies. In a similar way David’s sound work reveals sound vibration frequencies.
While David and Jason installed all the technical gear for the sound work, I meditated on literally fragmenting the edges of one of the six metre drops. I accomplished this by fraying the raw edges of the polysheen with a metal pet grooming brush which, to my delight, made the job so much easier than I had anticipated! As it turned out, even though the frayed edges themselves looked amazing, in the context of the darkened projection area, they were not very noticeable along the outside edges of the projection. Unfortunately, it also cast fuzzy shadows onto the fabric drop behind, in the middle of the silent interview projection, so we opted not to use it.
There was a buzz of excitement in the air once the sound installation was up and running alongside the video projection. It was amazing to see the space in the block transformed and filled with the vibrations of sound and light while the performance part of the work began to be resolved. I really began to feel the work. Literally. There was a throbbing in the air that could be felt through my whole body. It was like the feeling of my heart beating during a rest interval after a period of physical exertion ... or like the pounding of a headache that didn’t hurt. The emotional expressions of the individuals in the silent interviews were open, honest; vulnerable yet strong. Intellectually, I knew they were talking about personal losses but in this space of imposed aphasia I could only perceive what they were saying by observing their body language. It made me think about similar feelings of my own.
At the rehearsal, with the backdrop of video and sound, David and Grant performed musically, with great technical skill, along with a powerful performance of movement by Penny. It was quite a moving experience for me to watch the dual 40 minute improvisation of movement in response to sound, and sound in response to movement. Penny’s performance was like a slow and controlled writhing ... as if she could slow a painful experience down to carefully contemplate each moment of it. This was such a beautiful, even spiritual, response. As opposed to what one might expect in an instinctive reaction to loss which would be to fight and resist it ... or to run away.
I had the opportunity to see some of David’s visual journal which contained all the conceptual and emotional inspiration for The Joy of Loss. I felt like an intruder looking a such a personal document ... but it was beautiful ... and I thought that it could be exhibited as a work itself. It goes to show how little one consciously knows about how much goes into a work like this. On the other hand, when one can experience it in this way, with one's entire being, the body knows even when the mind doesn’t.
In joy and in pain there is need to express. Difficulties can be bonding experiences. Being present, in empathy with another, is a form of connection. And true connection with another is a joy. A problem shared is a problem halved. And I feel privileged to have been involved, in some small way, in the development of this work.
- Genine Larin