BETWEEN HOME AND ELSEWHERE
Artist’s Statement Nance Davies
betweenHOMEandELSEWHERE is a sound and sculpture installation exploring the movement, or journey, between here and there, as a new conception of place. This place, a conflation of material place, virtual place and the movement in-between suggests a new understanding of consciousness.
Consciousness today navigates both the material and the digital-electronic world. It builds a multiplicity of continuous, connections between layers, clusters and weavings of experience. This creates a paradoxical inversion of material ephemerality and conceptual density. Physicist F. David Peat [1.] describes this evolving consciousness as one that exists, simultaneously, in the mind and in the body and requires a “new logic that allows for ambiguity, transformation and the tension of unresolved contradictions – a logic of shifts, slippages, shape changes, transience and flow”.
Since leaving my childhood home I have marked my way back with crumbs like Hansel and Gretel. But, as so many post-modern stories go, someone has eaten my best intentions. I am left with a map of interlacing trajectories of vestigial materials and experiences from all the places I have lived and the people I have known. Those places together constitute a new geography of a place, between home and elsewhere, where I live as the ‘rhyzomatic nomad’ suggested by French cultural geographers Guy Delueze and Felix Guatarri [2.] This project is an attempt at making visible my new topography. The process of travel and mapping is the ‘site’ of the project. The focus of the mapping is the multiple and continuous instances of inter-relationship signified by the net – hair forms.
The installation is immersive, containing paths [empty space] and suspended elements. Participants wander through the paths, or passageways. The empty space is the place of the in-between, the space of movement and interval, the synaptic gap. Multiple perspectives are visible with the shifting clusters and densities of forms. Gaston Bachelard [3.] defines ‘the inner immensity of the imagining consciousness’ in his ‘Poetics of Space‘, the image of the co-penetration of many places into one space of – ‘motionless childhood’ and a space that goes from ‘deep intimacy to infinite extent’. The space of my installation is a fusion of my past places – the vast empty space of both ocean and prairie – floating and fluid – rimmed by the horizon line. The space also ensues from Italo Calvino’s, [4.] description of a new conception of space as a ‘multi-verse’ ….”…the network that links all things…composed of points in space-time occupied in succession by everyone which brings about infinite multiplication of the dimensions of space and time…the infinite relationships between everything and everything else”.
The forms articulating the space, composed of nets, and hair, vary in number and organization through time and changing conditions of place. These elements are the material markers of the fluctuating, temporary and multiple instances of relationships mediated by memory. They hang in suspension, unmoored from place of origin. There is slight movement in response to the breath and the passing of participants as they walk through the space. The forms mark the process of threading, holding and releasing. The hair, gathered from friends and family, is a material vestige of relationship. It contains complex, coded biological information in each spiraling strand of DNA. It is seemingly fragile but, when woven, unbelievably strong and difficult to pull apart. It is a thread of connection, intersection and continuity across relationship[s], time and memory. The linear trails, or threads of hair, correspond with the linear passageways of the installation space. However, in the net forms, they wind themselves into dense, snarling, circuits of repeating paths.
The sound piece is an immersive, sonic field that vibrates continuously in all directions. The original source is the night sound of the crickets in the yard of one of my past homes which has become a ‘homing’ sound for me. Several voicings of cricket song, each processed to correspond with an altitude of one of my past homes, create a layered state of ‘everywhere and all at once. The sound evokes an electronically mediated memory of material place. A dissonant condition resulting from displacement, longing and memory. A transpositionof the embodied experience through compression and inversion.
Art historian and theorist Miwon Kwon [5.], suggests a new logic of belonging that is not bound to any specific location but to a system of movement; an unmooring of place and self that can be both shattering and liberating. She defines this ‘placelessness’ as a condition of being ‘in-between’ the kind of geographical identity we take for granted and whatever new forms of space and place identity we may be evolving into.
1. Peat, F. David. “The Alchemy of Creativity: Art, Consciousness and Embodiment “
2. Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus University of Minnesota Press, 1987
3. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space Beacon Press, 1969 [Presses Universitaires de France, 1958]
4. Calvino, Italo. Six Memos for the Next Millennium Vintage 1993
5. Kwon, Miwon. [referencing Don DeLillo’s play Valparaiso Scribner, New York, 1999], in
One Place After Another MIT Press, 2002
Essay originally published: October [Journal] 1997