(for the apophatic), 2007
16mm film projection
Untitled (for the apophatic) was created in response to a commission from Fermynwoods Contemporary Art - a converted water tower, now a gallery space. There were points of departure between my practice and the liquid identity of the gallery's past.
For four years prior I had been carrying out a series of actions that involved reading out loud particular books into a jar and collecting the breath (in its condensed form) that resulted from this action. These materialised words are now stored in my studio, uncertain as to how to proceed. The catalyst for this commission draws from an experience I had in India where I heard a recording of a devotee speaking aloud the one thousand names that denote the elephant headed god Ganesh. I saw in this action a way of arriving at a more fundamental understanding of this deity by saying what he is not, identifying god in terms of absence, otherness, through the formless.
Here, I spent seven nights speaking aloud, into a specially blown glass vessel, a procession of words that came into my head, until I could say no more. The condensed breath that emanated from this action was collected by the vessel and stored. Later, this breath was filmed as a series of splashes through a high speed 16mm film camera running at 4000 frames per second.
Within the top floor of the water tower this film was projected onto the walls in slow motion, a series of liquid forms arising out of an act - towards wordlessness, a draining of chatter, towards a silence.
A consistent theme running through my work is this idea of personal enlargement, of swelling out; out from the breath I envisaged an ocean, through the contained touch upon the void. I saw in the substance and physicality of film a medium that was able to transform the body and site into the phenomenal.