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Helen Dowling

The word for world

Tegenboschvanvreden, Amsterdam

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Première
Artist
Helen Dowling
Title
The word for world
Year
2016
Duration
8 min
Format & Technical

Single channel, HD video, colour, sound
Edition of 5 + 2 AP

An inter entity video-alphabet, malleable and relentless, shaped by glitches, reprints, burns, light leaks, shakes and grain.

The word for world focuses on the ‘mediation’ of images through video and it’s connection to film and landscape. Dowling incorporates footage that has been shot in Western Australia together with printed image, film recaptured digitally, still imagery and stock effects weaved together to create an emotional narrative. Like the sun bleaches photographs, or when 35 millimeter film is scratched, video can also leave its mark on the subject adding a new layer open to interpretation.

The starting point for this work has been a photograph in a recently reprinted book. The image is of two girls standing in traditional Haitian clothing. This image contains a mistake due to its reprinting—a glitch that obscures part of one of the girls legs. It is an effect reminiscent of a burn through, such as with burnt 16mm film, as if something, an intense light has burnt through the image. This small glitch changes the experience of the photograph, the two girls transform from lives captured on film, to a fleeting image. Here the re-print remakes the image not by representing its subject, but by adding a new layer, a unique artefact born out of a certain set of circumstances.

The word for world creates a detached sense of place and time, punctuated by the sensational power of light to both create and obliterate imagery. By editing together very diverse footage the final work aims to disarticulate emotion from effect, creating a new space for experience and spectatorship in between.

Stills