Whether or not people agree art is becoming increasingly inviting, it is becoming increasingly involving. This is evident in the way contemporary art, and so much of the work exhibited at the Arts Centre’s Mead Gallery, is trying to immerse its audience into varying 3D and multi-media art formats. It seems only logical that this should become today’s trend, considering how long the average individual spends in front of screens in a world that is almost completely reproduced virtually. There is a certain desire for intimacy.
This couldn’t be truer for the work of artist Lindsay Seers, who was mute until she was eight years old. This was due to her feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of her sensory experiences of the world in a way that words , quite literally, became insufficient for addressing it. But in this new world, the world created for us in these art exhibitions, do we long for reality or for fantasy?
The artist’s inspiration for the film and fortifying sculptures was the disappearance of her step-sister, Christine Parks, perhaps in a diamond smuggling area in west Africa. It appears that Seer’s searches for the facts of the case: for clues to her survival, and records of memories and events. Yet the work is far from a missing persons case; its style of communication reflects the confusion of the data found. Nothing, when viewing the film, appears to be true. It all seems like a surreal, disjointed fantasy.
Seer’s film It has to be this Way2 imposes its impression in a completely unique and praise-worthy manner. Even though one longs for reality, for the truth of the matter, when one discovers that it does not embody the preconceived ideal image, one retreats from the search for good.
The room in which this short gothic thriller (20 minutes of fear-invoking voices and progressive imagery) is shown in is a mock, true-to-scale slave fort and throughout the film flashes of images of the real and the re-created are integrated until one loses any real sense of location. Seers picks you up and carries you in and out of reality. At times you are very conscious of the view you have down upon the circular screen that imitates looking through the camera; at other times you are completely submerged. At anytime when you are not consumed by baffled thoughts, you can admire her creative ability to relate language, the arts, and experience. A skill fostered during, and in reaction to her time when she couldn’t speak herself.
Get involved in Seer’s work and become the modern viewer. From outside appearances, the white cube design of gallery seems empty of substance. But upon seeing the film inside the slave fortress, you begin to make sense of the sculptures found outside of it. You needn’t stop for 20 minutes to capture Lindsay’s unique and ultra-modern, creative style of film making; even two minutes inside the viewing room gives you a great sense of mystery, intrigue and to some vague extent – insight. And a warning, don’t arrive with the preconception that the work there is to be understood; to enjoy the full glory of contemporary art you mustn’t search for an answer, but enjoy the journey of exploration.
This essentially is the idea behind Lindsay Seer’s It Has to be this Way2 project. She is not likely to solve the mystery of her missing step-sister, but is to revel in the unknown of the journey and through a range of interviews and travels, building up a picture of the distortion and frailty of memory itself.
The exhibition continues until 11th December in the Mead Gallery in the Arts Centre. Entrance is free.