lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Bloodbird artist’s statement

In recent work I have been exploring images of consciousness through organs of the human body associated with emotion, thought and breath. The media I work with in installations are usually some form of light which I find a pleasing means for representation of the immaterial. In Bloodbird, I have connected the image of birds with human veins, carriers of our life-blood.

Birds are a cross-cultural symbol of the spirit. “The idea that the bird represented the soul as opposed to the body, the spiritual in contrast to the earthly, seems to have been universal.” 1 This is my primary interest in using the image of birds. However, in developing this work I have been introduced to the rich field of animal symbolism and find it resonant with my primary artistic theme: transcendence, synthesis of culturally diverse modes of thought and “the passage from nature to culture”.2

Previous work used images of the heart, lungs and brain. In Bloodbird, I have turned to our veins. Our blood speaks to me of our physicality, mortality, the precariousness and impermanence of our bodies more than any other body part. The vulnerability of the body and the durability of the spirit invert the assumptions we so easily make about the material and spiritual.

The components of Bloodbird are two video projections and one light projection. (This is the term I use for the line drawings of light I create using theatrical lighting instrument and pattern plate.) The image of the Bloodbird evokes for me the simultaneity of material and immaterial, physical and spiritual and the absnce of duality that I seek to represent in my work as a concept of the human condition other to the dominant cultural concept produced by materialist paradigms.

Footnotes

1. Rowland, Beryl. 1978. Birds with human souls: a guide to bird symbolism. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
2. Levi-Strauss, Claude quoted in Lawrence, Elizabeth Atwood. 1997 Hunting the wren: transformation of bird to symbol: a study in human-animal relationships. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

1998

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