CENTRE D'ART CONTEMPORAIN AXENÉO7 - GATINEAU, 2015
My work explores the relationship between reality, narrative and emotion. By creating installations and media pieces I strive to unravel how we use confabulation to construct our own realities, which often involves disconnecting with difficult emotions. The “Holdovers Series” was born out of my desire to process my experience in the Yugoslav war as a child and more broadly represent how other nations have dealt with similar tragedies through stories. In “A Foreign Sky”, the latest iteration of this series, I focus on interviewing survivors of bombings who have shared a common experience and view of trying to make sense of their memories by reassuring themselves or children through the story that the outside roaring is only thunder as they lay seemingly sheltered. Through this exploration, I aim to uncover the intricacies and discords behind the ways we build narratives from our experiences and project them back onto our own reality.
"It's only thunder" is an installation that examines the interplay between the child-imagined experience of a thunderstorm and the traumatic reality of war. Through its immersive use of visuals, sound, and lighting, it captures the power and unpredictability of a thunderstorm while referencing an outside traumatic reality. With every stroke of lightning, the room lights up and the clouds flash back and forth, recreating the atmospheric sense of being during a storm. Light bulbs flicker in disarray while some are extinguished, creating a sense of unease in which one can recognize that these lights aren’t controlled by nature, but instead represent something much deeper. They react not to nature but a compilation soundtrack of man-made recordings from NATO airstrikes on Belgrade during a 78-day bombing campaign – blurring any lines between familiar, imagined, foreign and lived experiences. The lightbulbs in the installation are linked to both worlds of reality. The soundscape of the space is connected to sensors that cause the lightbulbs to react. If something unexpected or jarring happens, the installation will recognize and respond accordingly, bringing attention back to the current moment. The viewer is called to put into question their present perspective with the experience in contrast to the account of this foreign "thunderstorm".
The topic of war is often portrayed in a way that focuses on the political narrative of the state we reside in or the bite sized synthesis of the media we consume and leaves out any nuance of the civilian experience. This piece, seeks to provide an alternate, abstract representation of the way we view, approach and speak about experiences in conflict zones - And reflects upon the strength of the human spirit and how it manifests itself in our capacity to adapt to difficult circumstances. It challenges us to explore our perspective when we face difficulty and pushes us to question on whether the reality that our minds create is justifiable or not. And finally, how that of others affects our own.