Saturday, October 13, 2007

Intimacy in Images

I've recently been exploring the idea of intimacy in images. Not necessarily the image themselves - although that has been explored to a certain extent - but rather in size and context of presentation.

I like the idea of recreating the inate reaction when someone enters another's personal space.

The size (or a least the intended size) of my recent portraiture work allows an intimacy that is not normally afforded when viewed at 'normal' distance. I had previously mentioned the idea of being able to explore someone's features (feel their breath whilst they scream) without fear of retribution (the noise and the wrath).

Added to this is a new aspect that has 'appeared' with having the BankWest image in my life for a while now. I have noticed that as I move around the space that the image commands it has a profoundly different effect on me. The closer I am to it the more intimidating the emotive response is.

At a distance it can be cold but in a darker light even malicious. Depending on my personal mood it can sadden me one minute or anger me the next on a scary(ish) visceral level. It's hard to communicate but it is a real one hand moment*.

When it was first hung it truly made me quite weak. The only comparative experience I have ever had was a very surreal moment in Germany towards the end of the 1990s.

I was travelling alone one day on a tram and I noticed (I'm still not sure why) that someone a handful of seats in front of me had a similar haircut to mine and was wearing the same hat. I watched him for a good 10 minutes hoping that I could glimpse more features as the few I could see were again very similar to my own.

On a basic primal level I became very much aware of my pulse, the heat in my face and the sound around me seemed very distorted. This intensified more and more over our journey and spiked when I finally exited the tram and looked back to see the spitting image of myself in the face of the stranger.

What disturbed me most of all at the time was that he also saw me and was also obviously shocked by the experience. I had to sit on a bench for a few minutes afterwards as I had lost all sense of space and perspective.

As it is, the image is wrapped in semi-transparent bubblewrap as it hangs and I can't look at it raw without re-experiencing that moment.

It will be interesting to see how the image will react to the rather clinical PICA exhibition space ... that is, a large open space with 'endless' white walls and big light.

A similar thing happened last year with drei #05 and how it emoted (if that's a word) in various forms of light.

* As in, I can count on one hand the number of times...

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