16 August 2007 > 02 September 2007
Patrick Ward’s Reception explores cinematographic representations of television and video’s imagined paranormal potential. Ward has edited together moments in films in which unknown forces are trying to communicate with a character using a television screen. The scenes in the original films present broadcasts that begin and end with a flicker of a broken image or a burst of on-screen static. The fragments that framed each scene have been edited together to create a looped sequence that plays on our narrative expectations: what was actually seen on the television screens in the original films is missing. The flicker and static that framed the transmission become the content. Establishing shots situate the encounters within an estranged domestic setting leading to a series of mesmerising, nebulous on-screen images of white noise. The work implies an element of external interference which, allied with an ambient soundtrack, becomes an unsettling portent of events unfolding in an unseen narrative.
One of Stefanie Busch’s mediums is the silk-screen print, the master images for which are comprised of handmade paper cuttings. Her work is influenced profoundly by photography and film. Indeed, photographs serve as the basis for all of her works. For the most part, Busch’s motifs cannot be attributed to any particular place or time, even when they involve a concrete object, a specific place, or a personal experience. The mountain landscapes, forests, suburb streets, and flocks of birds are not treated in an aesthetic fashion, nor are they requisites for emotional images of longing. Rather, they represent the raw material for analysing the ambivalence of memories. Looking at Busch’s representations, we often feel that we have seen them before, as they appear to be part of a collective memory of pictures. This tendency to achieve a visual consensus, already seen in Busch’s choice of motifs, is reinforced by the austerity of black, gray, and white tones. In their detached silence, the landscapes and streets in Busch’s works are shifted away from the present day, simultaneously evoking the same emotional valuations with which all memories are imbued. And yet, as we all know, memories can be deceptive. Never static, they are reshaped during the act of remembrance, subject to psychologically stimulated manipulation—whether we are conscious of this or not. Indeed, it is not uncommon for memories to turn out to be projections. And it is precisely this ambivalence that Stefanie Busch investigates in her art.