ARTIST’S STATEMENT/PROJECT REPORT
Working on the meanings of empty space _2006-2008
My research for this MA has focused on the meanings of empty space. Through my video work, I tried to ‘record’ the meaning and the ‘image’ that void might has. Moreover, I want to show the quality of empty space and its value. I defined void, taking in mind its abstract image, it’s ‘controlled’, chaotic motion, sound, tension and substance’s transformation into something else. I define void like something abstract. Something which moves between full and empty, known and unknown, inertia and motion , light and darkness, sound and silence, real and imaginary, visible and invisible. In each case, I achieve this by using a variety of materials. I used a fabric, a cloth, a button, threads, a bracelet, sand and water, a net etc. Each one of the videos presents different concepts but the central idea remains the same, the one that defines what an empty space is. This MA show includes a projection of a film. Additionally, I run a local exhibition in Athens, Greece. The exhibition is composed of an installation. A projection of a film and a Blackboard. The blackboard is under the projection of the video (video’s duration is about 25 minutes). The person who watches the projection can also write with a black chalk on the blackboard.
The chalk is black same as the blackboard. Therefore, the writing on the blackboard will be faint which will lead the spectator to the concept of empty space (the way I view it). This similar to an empty space, is a space full of something that is not always possible to be understood. The spectators write on the blackboard by using a black chalk, as a result the blackboard wall remains black. Each spectator can recognize and reflect only his/her thoughts/meanings. In other words, the blackboard will represent my definition of an empty space; an empty space full of meanings and thoughts hidden in its black surface without being easily revealed to everyone. I am using a film in order to create an effect where the viewers will perceive an object that opens, which by turn will directly lead them every time, somewhere else to a different direction. To be more specific, my though is based on the emotion of change of the setting, exactly as in the movies.
In my video work, I used simple images, which derive from my everyday life. the ’scenery’ which contains all videos is a compilation of simple ‘movements’ in a space, such as an open door, an open fridge door, a bin, a corridor etc…The whole ( final ) video is a travelling from a ’situation’ to another ’situation’(a trip from a state of mind to a new state of mind). In other words is the everyday exploration of empty space. The empty space is being described in each video work through a different point of view.
(please watch the documentation video and some of the photos here: https://avos.wordpress.com/local-exhibition/)
At the beginning of my research, I wrote about the possible meanings of empty space. I realised that there are many matters arising, regarding the research of an empty space. I have understood, trough my study on empty space, that a void can be considered as an existing matter, much more different in its thickness from the full one However, ’empty space’ is a subject that gets more complicated the more you think about it. The theory that I have developed is based on the relation that an object has with its surrounding space. I stay focused on ‘these special places’ where matter and void are mixed up together-a balance between existence and non existence… An empty space is affected by its cocoon (surrounding) and its content. Accordingly is affecting the behavior of the material that moves inside it. Something might look foggy and clouded but includes a shape. It may be invisible but it has substance and energy. In my video work the empty space is not quite visible; it is always full and positive, like another kind of presence. For instance a bottle or a glass becomes useful from its ‘inside’ empty space. It is like the ‘useful’ part coming from the missing one. Void and full are two elements which are combined together and the one ‘moves’ inside the other. It is something like the invisible matter (but at the same time an existing One) that exists around the stars. You can also take in mind one of my references concerning Escher’s work. In Escher’s paintings there are ‘empty spaces’ between the images. These ‘empty spaces’ have not been created accidentally, but on the contrary are ‘spaces’ full with importance. Moreover, my research led me to another question. The question is not how we see something but the way we see it. In order to create an image I kept the way I see an object and avoided what this object really is in its physical world. A different world appears in front of me, beyond the visual or even the natural. I am looking for elements, which later I use in a different way than their origin. (For example, I transform an object that I film into something else. A jellyfish into a ‘visual’ painting-an analogue format into a digital one-in order to express my thoughts regarding the meaning of empty space)
Everything that our eyes see is a condensation of the substance that exists in universe. We perceive all things through our senses, trying to understand the world around us. ‘Things’ don’t end where our eyes see, but on the contrary they moving toward to infinity and mixed together into something which, metaphorically, seems to be like a giant “without limit mush’.Furthermore, I could liken the empty space, as it is a screen where there are atoms that are be projected on it. The screen doesn’t ‘participate’ in the meaning of the images that are projected on the screen, but without the screen, the images (atoms) would be impossible to be presented.
According to Democritus theory, it is the reason for the beings to exist, not because it appears as a part of their nature but because it composes an invisible basis in order to let them (the beings) be apparent.
In order to have the control over the development of the project and to understand better, I created storyboards and took photos. The main part of sound effect has been created by recording the physical sound of the objects and then mixed it up with other electronic rhythms with the use of an electronic keyboard. I do not care for the music itself but I am mainly interested in rhythm and volume. Via my digital tools, I create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world. I can imagine what is there. Experimenting with editing, in its most creative sense, enabled me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. . Learning to see through a camera enables me to see anywhere.
Looking back in my previous research, regarding the power of that which is minimal, the internal movement, internal action or intensity and how everything doesn’t necessarily have to entail external action. Even total lack of movement indicates internal intensities, conflicts, disputes and concerns. . The movement of a unit is considered to be that which drives all things. This has been an important influence on my practice since I continue using simple objects and methods for creating the videos. In most cases, I shot predefined scenes, which later I mix with other more spontaneous ones (ex: jelly fish and net1)
My research in artists work (Hepworth, Bill Viola, Escher, Yves Klein, Mondrian, Stan Brakhage etc) was a ‘valuable’ advisor in the whole procedure. In any of these cases the different approach of void, does not change the meaning, the importance or the force that an empty space has.
To conclude, ‘empty space’ is as chaotic and unexplored as it seems to be in every glance around us, since we can approach its meaning through a different concept every time.. I will continue with the experimentation, exploration and the’ open’ nature of this work. I will found out what the future holds…
Angelina Voskopoulou 2008
Brook, Peter (1969), The Empty Space, Touchstone, Reprint edition (December 1, 1995)
Peter Brook, the Open door, Thoughts in acting and theatre. Pantheon Books, New York
Yves Klein, (1928-1926), selected writings, originally published by 1974
Aristotle, Physics, Written 350 B.C.E Translated by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye
J.L. Locher, Escher, the complete graphic work, Page 317,Thames and Hudson 1992
Brakhage.S , (2001), Essential Brakhage: Selected Writings on Filmmaking. 1st edition, McPherson and company, New York
Moraitis M. (2006), Poetic image, Egokeros publications, Athens
Moraitis M. (2006), Andrei Tarkovsky, The poet .Egokeros publications, Athens
Makrygiannis D (1999). Cosmology and ethics of Democritus. Georgiades publications,Athens
Oskar Schlemmer, (1922), Source: Athens Goethe Institute, 2006, Video taken from Bauhaus, 1922
Brakhage S. (2001) Anthology – Criterion Collection. (DVD-Video) 2discs, 26 films, black and white, run time 243 minutes.
Centre for music composition and performance (2007) Stanley Breakage’s short movies projection, Athens
Interview with Dr Danezis, Professor of Astrophysics.. Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy & Mechanics. University of Athens, Greece
*(for more info in my research in other artists work ,please take a look here : https://avos.wordpress.com/artists-whose-work-relates-to-my-project/ )