Contained

1996

Image of Handbag

Commissioned for Triplicate, Southampton City Art Gallery, Towner Art Gallery, Tate Gallery St. Ives

Contained was a triptych across three venues. Through a series of ephemeral, almost postcard sized works, it examined the relationship between the expectations and experience of the visitor both in terms of the gallery, and also each of the coastal destinations.

Contained I : immersion (Southampton City Art Gallery) referred to both the multitude of containers carrying goods in transit through the port, and the containment of the psychological space of the gallery as immersive experience; a place for reflection; a different kind of transportation.
Sited in a passageway, animated fragments of video were projected into miniature containers as a tidal audio submerged the visitor in an infinite ebb and flow.

In Contained II : collecting (Towner Art Gallery) handbags collected in Eastbourne charity shops became containers for images and sounds collected on the street; in tea shops; on the seafront and pier. The images and sounds were randomly juxtaposed, triggered by the visitors’ approach. One handbag projected images into a second; while a third handbag contained audio-only experiences; muttering endless snippets of snatched conversation; local radio, and sounds of the sea.

Image of Hand

Contained III : catching (Tate St Ives) was based upon the seascape, the quality of light, the timeless views that have famously seduced so many artists and visitors. In catching the viewer was invited to literally ‘catch’ the image: an animated series of seascapes projected into the palm of the hand. Moving paintings. Each time a new hand was offered, a fresh image appeared randomly, sometimes with, sometimes without audio. Large video projections onto the wall behind showed the seascapes being caught again and again by other viewers, other hands.

Contained collectively explored notions of storage and memory retrieval, what the visitor takes away; the traces. Each time a handbag was peered into, or an image ‘caught’, the visitor was ‘rewarded’ with images and sounds. It was through these fragmented encounters that an individual, possibly idiosyncratic perception of each place was built.

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