There exists in our imaginations an image of how a space might fit together. I often imagine what a building might be like inside; how all the internal divisions affect my negotiation of the space. More so when inside a building for the first time, I am interested in my own feeling of disorientation as I try to construct the space from the inside out. Somehow the rooms never seem to fit properly with how I had conceived them from the exterior.

Although there is a certain amount of nostalgia evident in dereliction, especially in spaces as culturally loaded as the Abbeydale Picture House, I didn't necessarily want to directly respond to this rather romantic notion. Instead I attempted to make something more universally recognisable in our negotiation of any unknown space.

I feel that using live CCTV is about as close to representing the real as is technologically possible. But somewhere along the line is an exchange towards a simulation. I like the ambiguity of reality.
The introduction of automated camera movements and sequential editing is a device to disrupt an otherwise unmediated view. The experience takes on a filmic quality. The distinction between fašade and substance is undermined and the viewer can never really be sure that what is transmitted on the television screen is real or a fabrication.

The camera glimpses its own transmitted image, apparently on a TV attached to the ceiling.
There is a shot of a hole, above or below; there isn't enough information to tell the up from the down.
The camera plays tricks to disorientate the space, to displace it.

The longer the viewer spends with the piece the more it begins to explicate the space.
Perhaps there is also some suggestion of a cinematic reference in the partial suspension of disbelief and the attachment of a narrative structure where previously there was none.

What is revealed through the open doorway is rather beautiful and seductive. The warm glow of a light bulb illuminating the back wall and the insistent repetition of a TV image from somewhere else.
I hope that there is a temptation to enter the space and actually look around to really see how it all fits together.
Critically this is denied.
The space is purposely inaccessible, challenging the audience to imagine what exists just beyond their line of site.

I wanted to further dislocate the space by placing a small transmitted image elsewhere in the building. The same sequential cutting from each camera plays out here; orphaned from the real space two floors above, it appears lost and underwhelming. It acts as a lure at the top of the first set of stairs. Pushed into a corner with an image which breaks up when people go near it.

The placing of the two parts of the installation is important.
I imagine myself as member of an audience with no prior knowledge of the work. As I enter the space I soon encounter the small monitor at the top of the stairs. I recognise it as somewhere probably somewhere in the building. I'm not sure where. I promptly forget about it as I look around the rest of the exhibition. Finally as I reach the very top of the show and rediscover the image I had seen before.
I don't know how I will feel at this pointů


© 2004 Paul Anders Johnson