Kostka gallery

0

Kostka (2017)

Kostka performs one of the galleries at MeetFactory (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Prague, via a 360-degree film and playback device.

The gallery is shaped as a Cube (Cube = Kostka in Czech), converted from what used to be the boiler room of a technical glass manufacturing works.

The 360-degree motorized rig is placed in the centre of the gallery space and films the architectural site in daylight. The 360-degree rig turns both vertically and horizontally in synchronized time, the choreographed movement of the camera creating an exploration of perception of space, recording every detail of the architectural site. The footage of the gallery is then projected back into the same architectural space when the room is cleared and in darkness. 

360-degree film (excerpt). As the camera moves down through the space, new architectural structures open up. The frame starts to reveal objects in the physical space, reassessing the frame and the viewer’s structuring of the real.


A single laser is attached to where the camera once filmed, as the rig turns the laser travels through the space, projecting a beam of light around the space, from ceiling to floor. The laser invites the audience to follow it in the darkness.

A variety of different rigs are made that explore this notion of the image/tracking device. In this rig a monitor is installed where the camera was once placed and then a laser is fixed to the opposite end, as the rig turns 360 degrees the laser tracks in physical space the image on the screen. This has potential, but in a large site it is difficult to locate yourself in relation on the small screen.

The footage is projected on a large floating screen, presented in the centre of the space when the room is cleared and in darkness. The represented image comes into critical conjunction with the actual space of the gallery and the pre-recorded sounds on speakers around the space amplify the acoustics in the room, without using pre-recorded material from elsewhere. 

There is a split between attention to the ‘inside’ of the frame (the projection screen) and the ‘outside’ of the frame (the gallery space around the screen). The film on screen makes reference to the space around it, thus connecting the projected space with the architectural site. It serves to connect the image to the gallery space suggesting the spilling over of the image into the viewer’s space

“The filming rig is used to make reference to the architectural site via a small laser pointer, attached where the camera has once been. This makes me equally aware of both the filmic space and the physical space in which I am standing”. (Audience feedback)

“I became part of space and film through a machine that recorded the space in the past and acted in the present (through its motion and sound, and through the laser pointer and the synchronized projection). The space was no longer a motionless entity that I could explore or passively inhabit, but it became activated”. (Audience feedback)


“I think the artist wanted to expose the space and wanted the audience to experience what happens if you magnify the sound of the room as it actually is. The space feels alive.” (Audience feedback)


It would seem she constructs her machines, primes them, and steps away to allow them to complete her work as if they have an intelligence of their own.” (Audience feedback)

Kostka exposes the space sound itself and allows the audience to experience what happens when your attention is drawn to the actual sound of the room. Sound promotes the coherence of the visual representation of site and tells us what we feel about what we see. Field recording is more than simply recording sound in situ, it decontextualizes sound, lifting it out of place and sending it into wider circulation.

Rio cinema

0

Reference Rio (2018)

Reference Rio is a single screen projection and live performance made in Rio Cinema in Dalston. The Rio is a Grade II listed Art Deco cinema in east London. It is an independent cinema with a history stretching back over 100 years, constantly under threat of closure.

Reference Rio could also be seen as a wider comment on the contemporary screen culture that we live within, the way we mediate and experience our existence through handheld multiple screens and images, removed from physical space.

Traditionally the cinema audience is lost in narrative time, which traditionally favours represented time over the passage of actual time. “Everything possible is done to reduce awareness of the actuality of the screening time and space … the seats are soft, the sound surrounds, the screen fills the visual fields, all reducing awareness of our actual physical presence to the minimum”. (Le Grice, 2001, p.67). Reference Rio reverses this priority responding to the actual cinema space, a traditional 1930’s auditorium with plush velvet seats and long red curtains that swish back and forth before the film starts.

A 360-degree device turns both vertically and horizontally in synchronized time, the choreographed movement of the camera records every detail of the architectural site. This diagram documents the design of the rig, using two motors to independently power two 360 degree rotations.

The cinema is first filmed using the 360-degree rig, recording every detail of the empty architectural site, with the house lights on and the curtains closed. The pre-recorded film of the auditorium is then projected onto the cinema screen.

There is a curious interaction between the camera’s monocular viewpoint and the space through which it moves. Rather than considering these mechanical rigs in terms of what they mean for the camera, this work argues for an understanding of how it allows for new explorations and perceptions of the site.

The same rig is then used to track the movement of the recording device, by replacing the camera with a laser. As the audience ‘maps’ the projection to the laser within the ‘physical’ cinema space, a complex relationship occurs between artwork, audience and site.

The cinema auditorium, typically a motionless entity that one can passively inhabit, is transformed into ‘activated’ live space. The primary experience of watching and the secondary experience of representing are merged. The audience becomes aware of their position within the room and within the filmic space depicted in the projection, through a machine that records the space in the past and acts in the present. The device is a major part of the site-specific construct; rather than being merely an invisible tool, its performance is the subject of the artwork.

The 360-degree movement of the field of vision affects the audience’s relationship with physical space and time. This work questions the act of perception and the definition of time, space, surface, and material, and it forces the spectator to return to her/his own capabilities for meaning-making.

Reference Rio creates a tension between space, time and the medium by discarding the anthropomorphic view of the architecture and by constructing a new visual representation of the physical site in which the audience is seated. It forces the viewer to actively look, engage and experience the site, as opposed to the passive consumption of space, answering Parveen Adams’s wish: “what we need is respite from an entire system of seeing and space that is bound up with mastery and identity. To see differently, albeit for a moment, allows us to see anew” (Adams, 1998, p.56).

Reference Rio film clip.

Reference Rio attempts to interrogate the physical and perceptual relationship to the cinema as site, where the cinema screen, the mechanical rig and by extension the position of the viewer are all part of that equation. As such, the audience is reflexively engaged in the production of meaning, directly challenging the convention of traditional cinema.

“I honestly thought the film was live, I was expecting to see myself on the cinema screen, I’m so used to live surveillance type work.” (Audience feedback)

The audience become aware of their position within the room and within the filmic space depicted in the projection. Thus, physical space, typically a motionless entity that one can passively inhabit, is transformed into ‘activated’ live space. This lived experience is often lost when we do not attend to the actual space of the cinema when watching a film.

“When I noticed the laser pointer, leading my eyes to the point the camera had once filmed, I started to negotiate my relation not only to the film but also to the space. What first seemed to be about a machine and space became a triangle: machine-space-human. I was therefore constantly negotiating the limits between illusion of film and reality.” (Audience feedback)

“It is interesting to feel how the presence of the machine changes the essence of space. Its sound and automated movement makes its presence striking to me, and I believe this adds immensely to the experience”  (Audience feedback)

“I was at first trying to understand if it was a live feed and trying to negotiate my position within the film. Then, when I realized it wasn’t, I was caught in the experience of the video and feeling my body moving with the “camera eye”, leading me to wonder if I was experiencing the site from a human or machine point of view.” (Audience feedback)

“As I was watching the installation of the projection with the synchronised motorised rig, I was at first trying to understand if it was a live feed and trying to negotiate my position within the film. Then, when I realised it wasn’t, I was caught in the experience of the video and feeling my body moving with the “camera eye”, leading me to wonder if I was experiencing the essence of a place from a human or machine point of view. When I noticed the laser pointer, leading my eyes to the point the camera had once filmed, I started to negotiate my relation not only to the film but also to the space. What first seemed to be about a machine and site became a triangle: machine-site-human. I was therefore constantly negotiating the limits between illusion of film and reality.” (Audience feedback)

Winspit quarry

0

Winspit (2018)

Winspit explores the physical terrain of an old quarry in Dorset. In the early stages of this research I had been drawn to Winspit, mainly due to the quarry floors moonlike terrain. I had wanted to capture the materiality of the site, in contrast to how the site had previously been filmed as a background location for TV productions.

 

In Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in art, Architecture and Film (Verso, 2002), Bruno discusses ‘this shift away from the long-standing focus of film theory on sight, towards the construction of a moving theory of site’. This movement from optic to haptic reflects film’s position within the spatial arts, sitting more comfortably next to architecture and theatre than many of the visual arts. Traditional theories of the ‘filmic gaze’ fail to address the effect of spatiality, the act of crossing or inhabiting space are not explored or explained. In order to draw attention to the moonscape interior, an iPad was mounted on a motorised buggy that travelled across the quarry floor recording the detail of the terrain. The results were interesting but it was difficult to control the speed and direction of the buggy so it was developed using a fixed track.

An iPad mounted on a motorised track spans the length of the quarry floor recording the detail of the terrain, scanning the site, like a forensic instrument. The iPad slightly magnifies the actual site underneath; this in turn creates a physical effect for the viewer, as the screen appears to ‘open up’ the ground below. The noise of the motorised rig and the illuminated screen guides the viewer deep into the site. The audience experiences an activation of site, a curious interaction/dialogue between technology and nature, a scientific investigation. Winspit fundamentally questions the relationship between image and so-called real space, and likewise attempts to present moving image in dialogue with natural form.

Film documentation of site performance.

The site was open for audience feedback at strategically positioned points in the project. In most cases the feedback dramatically informed the practical and technical development of the work. An example being that during one of the open sites the feedback gained from all participants suggested that the speed of the iPad motorized installation was too fast, as one participant wrote, “It is hard to really see the image on the screen, it is moving so fast that I tend to look at the iPad as an object rather than a screen”(Audience Feedback). This feedback was fundamental to the development of the piece as the phenomenological effect only worked when the speed was fast enough to be seen as a surface texture but slow enough for the viewer to be immersed in the screen image.

“This is my second visit, I came back now it is dark…I much prefer the work in the dark, the iPad appears from nowhere, it draws me into the cave. I now feel part of the work, before there were too many distractions, I couldn’t focus upon the machine, plus now I have to look through the screen to see the ground underneath, this makes me think more carefully about the ground I am stood on, if it is safe.” (Audience feedback)

“I feel in-between technology and nature, a scientific investigation or experiment. Could there be more than one, maybe two or three could be running at the same time, scanning different sections of the cave?” (Audience feedback)

“I feel like I am holding a torch and lighting my path. I wonder what would happen if the track went around the walls of the cave rather than just the ground, would it have the same physical impact?” (Audience feedback) 

“It’s like an explorer and observer in one. The cave looks like a moonscape, I see it differently through the screen” (Audience feedback)

Lokomotywownia train depot

0

Lokomotywownia (2018)

Lokomotywownia is a site-specific installation located in a disused train repair depot in Krakow, Poland. The history of the region, its old technologies, its witness to the passing of time and the transient, are bought back into conversation through the rediscovery and intervention of the site. The train’s previous life and its trajectory of motion are mimicked in the reciprocal motion of the iPads – they are alive, the train is now stationary. 

In Lokomotywownia the audience involved were train workers who had no prior experience or understanding of site-specific art. A number of the train workers that became involved in the project didn’t even know that the old carriages existed prior to the project and they had been working half a mile away for 10 years.

Established in 1927, the depot is somewhat in the shadow of modern train travel. The history of the region, its old technologies, its witness to the passing of time and the transient, are brought back into conversation through the rediscovery and intervention of the site. The iPads take on the form of mechanical beings, and their sensory domain is given up to us as they serve as a vehicle by which we are transported into the culture of old Eastern Europe. The train’s previous life and its trajectory of motion are mimicked in the reciprocal motion of the iPads – they are alive, the train is now stationary.

Lokomotywownia attempts to present moving image in dialogue with sculptural form as tracks are built as a shell of the carriage – the viewer experiences the materiality of the train carriage from the inside out, as the reading of detail builds the comprehension of architectural space.

Motorised tracks were built inside one of the abandoned carriages, allowing the materiality of the site to define the structure of the recording device.

The captured footage was then played back on eight iPads that move around the space mapping the carriage interior and re-tracing the exact path of the camera, spatially and temporally. As the iPads drifted slowly across the surfaces of the abandoned railway carriage, the exact representation in scale is seen on the screens, highlighting the architectural site below.

The site performance brought light into the domain of the foreboding, symbolic, dark space, literally through the lit display of iPad screens, whilst simultaneously invited the audience to illuminate the space with ideas and possible meanings. In Lokomotywownia the viewer was reliant upon the moving iPad screens to reveal elements of the architecture, in which to construct their awareness of the site and locate them in physical space. This is particularly effective as the iPads move across the carriage floor; the missing wooden planks reveal the ground below. Suddenly the floor no longer feels stable; the audience’s habitual reading of the carriage surface is questioned and their safety in the site doubted. This de-materialization of the filming apparatus is particularly effective in the moment where the iPad glides over a hole in the train carriage wall – as the film is pre-recorded the image on the iPad reveals an empty space and the motorized track appears to vanish. In darkness the iPad reveals aspects of the physical site via the moving iPad screen, the audience locates themselves via the screen image.

“It’s a strange place to do this, I can’t imagine many artists walking all the way here to see this. It is like a fish-eye lens, magnifying the site. The sound of the motor is really interesting. I like the movement, it feels alive.” (Audience feedback)

“Is the recorded image a ‘window’ into the recorded site or a heightened reality of the site? – the virtual seems more real than the real. At first I was trying to work out if it was filming or had already been recorded. I placed a pen in the carriage, it didn’t appear on the screen. Then I knew it had been pre-recorded.” (Audience feedback)

Detail: film documentation of ipad screen in site performance.

“I must have walked past these carriages every day, but never really paid attention, you have made them look beautiful, alive again” (Audience feedback).

Film documentation of the site performance.

Old Kent Road Mosque

0

Jamaat (2020)

Made in collaboration with Old Kent Road Mosque community, Jamaat comprised of two simultaneous moving floor projections, one in the main prayer hall and one in the female prayer room.

Located in a renovated former pub in Southwark, the Nigerian Muslim association informally started in the early 1960s with a transient community of Nigerians coming to London to study. Initially staying only for short periods of time, it was not until the 1980s when a more permanent community started to develop. It took a further 10 years before the association in 1993 acquired their first place of worship and another 5 years after that before the abandoned pub was established as Old Kent Road Mosque.

Mosques in Britain are crowd-sourced community projects. There is no overarching religious authority that directs or funds mosque buildings, religious congregations are independent and self-organized. As a result, mosques built by immigrant communities have adapted to and altered the British vernacular, and can be found in terraced houses, supermarkets and pubs.

Detail of the main prayer hall, the interior decoration reflects the layering of Islamic visual symbols.

The Nigerian congregation at Old Kent Road Mosque has built a large, active community, organizing many support groups and events.

The female prayer space is of equal size and capacity to the main prayer hall directly above and this artwork reflects the unison of the two congregations via dual moving projections performing both prayer sites in synchronized time and space. An LCD monitor connects the two spaces as the imam is broadcast live in the female space.

A new purpose-built Mosque and islamic centre is proposed for the community that will double the prayer space for men and women; expand their Islamic school and strengthen their community.

The new mosque and Islamic centre is due to be built on the existing site of Old Kent Road Mosque in 2020. It was agreed that Assembly would be made and performed in both the main prayer hall and female prayer space before the building is demolished. The artwork would act as both a celebration of the community and a historical record of an under-represented aspect of Britain’s religious heritage, the self-built mosque.

The congregation played an active role in the installation of the artwork in both the main prayer hall and female prayer space. Identical ceiling rigs were constructed in both sites respecting the religious and cultural rules of the mosque. Both filming rigs were automated, silent and the camera was not permitted to film in front of the people praying, nor could it show their faces.

Film of Friday congregational prayer in main prayer space (excerpt)

Film of Friday congregational prayer in female prayer space (excerpt)

This pre-recorded footage of prayer was then projected back into the architectural sites using the same automated device. The controlled motorisation of the projection re-traced the movement of the recorded image, giving the effect of only the frame moving through physical space, constantly revealing and concealing the actual site below. The mechanical rigs performed a dual function, firstly, to record each site and secondly to playback the footage in syncronised time, linking both spaces.

Documentation of first test projection

Due to COVID-19 a socially distanced performance of Jamaat took place for the congregation alongside a virtual performance via a live stream. This provided an opportunity for the mosque community to virtually experience congregational prayer, after a period of two months without access to the mosque. The projection was also streamed during Visit My Mosque Day, to welcome the wider community (virtually) into the mosque.

“On a normal day this is what the mosque is like, usually you are part of it, part of the experience. Because we haven’t been able to join for congregational prayer I see it now with fresh eyes, the community, the unity, all doing the same thing at the same time, together in the same space, it’s something we haven’t had for a while. (congregation feedback)

“I know that you didn’t intend it for the time to be like this but I think it makes it more current for the time we are in, it makes it more impactful… almost as if you are watching through the looking glass, the birds eye view.” (congregation feedback)

Documentation of the virtual site performance.

Documentation of virtual site performance (main prayer hall)

Documentation of virtual site performance (female prayer hall)

The virtual site performance was live streamed during Visit My Mosque 2020. An event organised by the Muslim Council of Britain to welcome the wider community (virtually) into Old Kent Road Mosque.

Brick Lane Mosque

688

Jamaat (2018)

Made in collaboration with Brick Lane Mosque community, Jamaat comprised of two moving floor projections, one in the main prayer hall and one in the female prayer room. Jamaat found a way to connect and engage both prayer spaces, allowing access for men and women to both sites. As this research project evolved the relationship between the two prayer spaces became a fundamental aspect of the work. The two sites, so different in location, size, atmosphere, joined by the performance of worship.

At the end of the residency the Jamme Masjid invited the general public into the main prayer hall and female prayer room, providing an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims to experience Jamaat first hand via the site-performances. 

The Georgian building, acquired by the Bangladeshi community in 1976, was built as a Huguenot church in 1743 and was then converted to a Methodist chapel, then a synagogue, before its current use as a mosque.

The term Jamaat (Arabic: جماعت) (meaning Assembly) can apply to the following: Jamia – a gathering or congregation; place of gathering. It feels appropriate therefore to title the work Jamaat, as this work is not concerned with the individual (the salat) but the congregation as a whole.

After negotiation with the Brick Lane Mosque committee it was agreed that I could extend the project to film in the female prayer space, located in the basement of Brick Lane Mosque. It is a much smaller space with an LCD screen streaming the imam from the main prayer hall. I worked in collaboration with the female congregation to gain feedback into the social/religious/ethical development of the project.

Womens entrance to Brick Lane Mosque

The Inclusive Mosque Initiative (dedicated to creating places of worship for marginalised Muslim communities, spiritual practice and the promotion of inclusive Islamic principles) became involved in the ethical development of the project.

Jamaat is made respecting the religious and cultural rules of the mosque and is exhibited following the same rules; the camera is not permitted to film in front of the people praying, nor can it show their faces. Subsequently, a mechanical rig is constructed to film from above, at a constant speed from the entrance to the Mihrab.

In Jamaat the pre-recorded image content is a vital component of the experience, as it is a re-projection of the exact architectural space. The way that the projected image of the carpet matches the scale/proportions of the real carpet makes for a visceral and direct corporeal relationship between the spectator and the site. Using pre-recorded imagery of the same architectural space allows the nature of the two events to become significant content, in the space between the image and the projector. The pre-recorded footage of people in prayer projected back into the architectural space prompts the audience to question what is real and what is illusion. Naturally, the audience questions how the representation relates to the real space and how the experience of the real space is mediated by the image.

Pre-recorded footage of prayer is then projected back into the architectural sites using the same automated device. The controlled motorisation of the projection re-traces the movement of the recorded image, giving the effect of only the frame moving through physical space, constantly revealing and concealing the actual site below.

Valuable feedback was gained from the mosque community and the Inclusive Mosque Initiative. When discussing the project trustee Naima Khan stated, We would like to use this opportunity  to challenge the perception that mosques like IMI [Inclusive Mosque Initiative] exist in opposition to other mosques (and vice versa) when really, we can coexist in a peaceful, productive way.

As the prayer starts the LCD monitor and speakers are automatically activated and link the two spaces via image and sound.

The silent automated rig witnesses an experience than could not have been captured by the human eye. The mechanical eye allowed access to the sacred moment of prayer where focus to worship needed to be central and the camera non-intrusive.

Closeup Cinema artist talk prior to site perfomance.

“I was always curious to see and know what was taking place, but it was obviously a strict no-go area. Having the opportunity to witness prayer through Jamaat, and not feel as though I was intruding was really incredible. I found it a rare, meditative and moving experience.” (Audience feedback)

“The madrasah pupils gained a sense of belonging and pride as they show the visiting children ‘their mosque’ while the local school children learned about Islamic faith and culture.” (Audience feedback)

“I loved seeing the children playing in and around the films and I loved Stella’s friends clearly being both proud to show her round the mosque and also simply enjoying being together.” (Audience feedback)

The importance of sharing cultures and establishing deeper relationships within the younger generation was evidenced during the local school visit where over 40 primary school children, staff and parents visited the artwork. After the site-performance the children filled in questionnaires, providing their reflection on the event.

“The installation in the female prayer room feels like a very accurate representation of my experience – the overwhelming sound with a focus on a partial area of flooring. What is even more apt is the sense of both confined space and everlasting space – the knowledge that a mosque acts as an infinite space, but you shone a light on one row, as it where, enough to have a communal feel.”  (Congregation feedback)

“The surrounding darkness in the women’s prayer room projection felt like an ode to the building’s former haunt as a church – where I would normally identify churches as more accustomed to darkness/limited lighting.” (Audience feedback)

“It was a very special and moving experience, especially the way the congregation interacted with us, it was very beautiful how they welcomed us into their space.” (Audience feedback)

Jamaat manages to engage politically and socially very successfully.” 
(Audience feedback)

“The projected image makes prayer appear even more tangible and real than reality itself. There is a heighted sense of the theatrical within this and seeing my own body in the film is fascinating, i’ve never seen myself in this light before.” (Congregation feedback)

Birmingham Central Mosque

0

Salat (2017)

Salat is a pilot project made and performed in collaboration with Birmingham Central Mosque congregation. Salat comprised of a 1:1 ratio moving floor projection in the main prayer hall.

Birmingham Central Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Western Europe, was built in 1969 and opened to the public in 1975. The most inspiring value of this mosque is its multi-denomination position which means it does not belong to any one particular sect or school of thought but it represents all Muslims from any background.  

As an artist, I was granted permission to make the work, but at the same time, as a woman I was denied access to the main prayer hall during prayer. I worked in collaboration with members of the congregation to install and test the work. This demonstrates the complexity of negotiation in terms of engagement with the materiality of a space, when that space is determined primarily by strict codes that are based on ideological restrictions.

Salat brings forth a very precise relationship between subject and site, helped by the fact that the people it addresses are all people coming to worship and therefore invested in the place.

There were strict rules to follow when filming; the camera was not permitted to film in front of the people praying, nor could it show their faces. These restrictions gave the research a new direction. Rather than allowing the physical geography of the site to determine how the mechanical rig was constructed, this time, social and religious restrictions dictated the way the film should be made and received. Subsequently, the rig was constructed to film from above, at a constant speed from the entrance to the Mihrab. The vertical relationship between the camera and the observed worshippers calls to mind the vertical axis of sacred relationships in which the spiritual higher domain is “above” the worshipper, elevating the rig to the domain of the godly.

The research proposes a new approach to site-specificity; a collaboration between community, artist, machine and site. A key concern is how the collaboration between artist and congregation can inform much of the decision-making around production.

This film then projected back into the physical site uses the same motorized rig, allowing the film to play back at the same speed as the recorded footage. Therefore, as the projected image physically moves across the ground, it appears to reveal the individual prayer mats of the mosque carpet and worshippers underneath. 

The 1:1 ratio projected images maps with the real carpet below as the projector moves so does the image in sync with the prayer carpet. The way that the projected image of the prayer mat matches the scale/proportions of the architecture makes for a visceral and direct corporeal relationship between the spectator and the site. This one to one relation means that there is a direct dialogue between the represented film-time and the time of the viewer in the viewing context. 

Ontologically there can be no split between representation and the real, however we experience the ‘realness of the real’ and the ‘image-ness of the image’ and Salat pays attention to this. This sense of illusion is strengthened as the projected image physically moves through the architectural space; the experience becomes spectacular in nature. It can be argued that this engagement with the spectacular is exactly what helps draw the spectator’s attention to their relationship with the architectural site and, specifically, perception of place.

The experience of the work can be informed by what we habitually and haptically know about the architecture of the site, but it is also unrestrained by the physical body and physical world. We can imagine touching the carpet, informed by what we know about the physical texture, colour and material of the real carpet – simultaneously heightened and challenged through the projected image.

 “Watching the boys playing with the projection is fascinating. The dipping in and out does not actually disturb the thing as material or the thing as image: it actually performs both at the same time and shows how we come to be ourselves as ethical beings through figuring out how things feel on our bodies, not by adhering to strict code.“ (Congregation feedback)

The projected image makes prayer appear even more tangible and real than reality itself. There is a heighted sense of the theatrical within this and seeing my own body in the film is fascinating, i’ve never seen myself in this light before.” (Congregation feedback)

Documentation of the site performance. As a female I was unable to experience the work first hand, so my experience is secondary through documentation and the audience feedback. However, it could be argued that while I was not permitted to be in the space at the same time as the site performance, I was allowed to exert agency in the space, via the making of the work. 

“Experiencing the image of my own body over me and feeling it physically move over me was a strange feeling, I was made more aware of the space around me.” (Congregation feedback)

The presence of people in the footage involves a shift in representation, from a focus on the viewer’s relationship to the architectural site, to watching someone else’s relationship to place. Salat brings forth a precise relationship between body and space, helped by the fact that the people it addresses are coming to worship and therefore invested in the place. The congregation question how the projected image relates to the real space and how the experience of the real space is mediated by the image. 

Interviews with the congregation during the site-performance were transmitted live, alongside a screening of the empty prayer space as part of Contact Festival at Apiary studios in London, a festival of experimental film and video showing the work of artists and filmmakers. Accompanied by a publication commissioned by the arts council England.