Magic and Poetry
08/01/05Our real world can appear to be grindingly hard and so dead, ugly and devoid of poetry, of the mystery we need. Actually, it is there, just below the surface sometimes - just out of our reach. In this [the Hidden City] project I consciously re-invest the seemingly banal and mundane with a mystery and wonder - absurd perhaps.
"The Line Between Reality and Fiction"
Go beyond the simple phrase and explore a zone between the two.
The 'line' between reality and fiction is more of a perceptual moment. We may be in an environment or be looking at an object and believe we are looking at one thing, only to be surprised and fooled into this belief by craft/ perceptual error etc. The moment we realise what it is, or see the craft, we are on the other side of the line, and cannot go back to the prior way of seeing. It is a one-way street.
The interesting thing would be to prolong this moment, to extend the life of the illusion. I call this the Uncertain State. And ideal situation would be one of infinitely prolonging this uncertain state so the viewer fully believes what he or she is seeing, with the nagging doubt that it borders on the improbable.
With the Hidden City project, I see an opportunity to present an enhanced reality, to fool the viewer by presenting objects or an environment that is integrated into reality in such a seamless way that one is left doubting one's very senses, taking one into what almost amounts to a waking dream-state.
So, this will go beyond the idea of the 'unreliable narrative' of the person presenting this documentation and misreading it, into creating an almost believable context for this purported belief.
Fictive types: These are notes for ideas, or ways to create a fictive zone. They are stand-alone and additive - i.e. they can be used in combination with one another. Examples are in brackets.
1) A PLAY WITH SPACE
• Shortening space
• Extending space (figure sculptures by Giacometti)
• Forced perspectives (ladder by Krzysztof Wodiczko)
2) A PLAY WITH TIME
• Speeding up time (rotting fruit of Sam-Taylor-Wood)
• Slowing down time (flowers in stasis by Marc Quinn)
3) RECREATION OF THE PAST
• Juxtaposition of past and present to create a fictive 'dissonance' between times
• A closed-off environment where the past exists, or is alluded to in a way at variance with the new (Sherlock Holmes room at the Sherlock Holmes pub)
4) VISUALISING THE IMPOSSIBLE
• Depiction of events or environment as if real, of something physically impossible (David Johnson, Leap into the Void by Yves Klein, 20:50 by Richard Wilson, Jeff Wall, some works by Maurizio Cattelan)
5) SIMULATED REALITY
• Precise recreation of an or environment using synthetic/ alternative materials (Pino Pascali's cannon, Ceal Floyer's light pieces, Piero Gilardi's river carpets, Boyle Family's metre squared, Fischli & Weiss work of decorator's detritus, Michael Landy's house)
• Detailed photographs of models, taken as if reality (Hiroshi Sugimoto's photos of waxworks, Thomas Demand's paper environments)
• Juxtaposition of real situations, made using appropriate materials, which convey their fictive state through their context (Mike Nelson's Coral reef, etc.)
• Trompe l'oeil painting/ sculpture (Duchamp's Étant Donnés)
• Virtual reality ( Langland & Bell#s Home of Osama Bin Laden)
6) ALTERED REALITY
• Doubled reality (Gregor Schneider's twin piece)
• Mirrored reality (Robert Kusmirowski's mirrored artist's studio)
• Flipped reality (Kozlowski's gravity room)
• Enlarging reality/ reducing reality (Ron Mueck et al.)
7) INVENTION OF THE FUTURE
• Jumping from the present to the future, an extrapolation from contemporary events (Keith Tyson's crazier work?)
• Future objects that appear to have materialised from the future (Mariko Mori?)
8) UNRELIABLE NARRATIVE
• A story or commentary accompanying an object or environment that seems improbable, all the way to highly dubious or impossible (Panamarenko's flying machines)
• The depiction of an unlikely object or environment that has a narrative form built into itself (Maurizio Cattelan's Pope etc., Chris Burden's aeroplane factory)
9) THE HIDDEN REALITY (INVERSION OF FICTION AND REALITY)
• Object or environment that creates the illusion that our reality is a lie or a fiction, covering some 'deeper' reality beyond the surface, or beyond our perception (The origins of the Hidden City project)
Factors to be aware of in recreating Reality
1) SCALE For miniatures and dioramas, forced perspective must be perfect for the illusion to succeed.
2) LIGHTING The way objects react to light; various types of lighting to simulate natural daylight, filtered through clouds, rain, fog etc.
3) TEXTURES These have to be fantastically accurate. The textures of brick, stone, bark, metal etc.
4) THE AMOUNT OF MOVEMENT THE VIEWER HAS Whether the viewer will be able to 'enter into' the work, touch the work, move along and around the work.