Still from 'When An Other Comes Calling' (2017), video with sound, four minutes (on loop)
'When An Other Comes Calling' (2017) is the start of a multimedia project exploring lights as a visual language. This particular work shows flashing lights in a variety of colours including red, pink, green, blue, yellow and white. Set against a black backdrop inspired by twinkling stars in the night sky, each set of flicker represents the word “hello” (or an equivalent greeting) in 20 languages, from English and Spanish to Mandarin and Arabic, delivered using international morse code.
The video is punctuated by a soundtrack composed of distorted layers of stock audio mimicking outer space, inspired by sci-fi films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), with interest in its potential to evoke alienation, distance and isolation.
Lasting four minutes on loop, this work aims to reflect on attempts to communicate across varying cultures, languages and backgrounds, and the potential for both success and failure in such efforts depending on the level of skill, knowledge and willingness from each party.
There is conscious abstraction with the use of an esoteric code and multiple languages which, in the absence of relevant information, makes the intended message or meaning harder to decipher. This is part of an ongoing investigation on communication and the inherent flaws within it, which includes other projects like 'Poet Fool' (2016), 'Signs No 1 & 2' (2016) and 'Calls From An Other' (2018).
This particular video can be exhibited in various ways, from digital projection to flatscreen TV playback. Set-up and dimensions flexible based on space, context and available equipment. Please note this video is made of 20+ layers which requires low brightness and high contrast to achieve the desired effect of a space vacuum. This can be easily configured directly within the projector or screening device.
In appropriate settings, this work can be expanded and developed as a site-specific installation of multiple flatscreens or monitors showing individual flashing lights on loop, each one carrying its designated colour and language. Functioning as sculptural objects, the TV screens can be positioned together and/or scattered across a given space as a 3D model of an imagined constellation of stars.
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