Revenant Series

Series, 2006 – 2008

The works in this series have an uncanny quality for me on multiple levels. In the first sense, the images themselves touch on the strange ways our minds work when we see the human body. The source images for these works were all found photographs. The images are all of people who are seen sleeping (or, quite likely, passed out). In composing some of them, I simply animated the prone bodies and then filled in the space where they were lying with some crude Photoshop work. In seeing the works, I was stunned at the way that once the body parts were animated and had assembled themselves, the images gave the sensation of seeing an actual body move. It certainly brought me into an awareness of my own body and the materiality of it, but also, in a curious and estranged way, a sense of the body itself as animate while simultaneously being an object, capable of independent mobility, but also capable of merging - categorically - with objects like furniture.

These images are also uncanny for me in that while they are both animate and inanimate - ‘moving still’ is the term I use for them - they are also lodged in an unresolved space between video works and photographs. I originally made the works using Adobe Flash. They were intended to be seen on websites, and, therefore, become a moving image on an page of otherwise still images. That sense of the unexpected was crucial, for me to their meaning. Now that websites are no longer such a central part of the way people interact with the internet, these works have lost a significant aspect of their context, but that alienation, I think, lends them another kind of significance.

When I made these images, most of the people who were discussing my work came from the world of photography, but now, when they are shown, people see them as ‘video art’. I definitely never conceived of them in terms of being video art, as the expectations around video and movement are very different. For my own part, I see them as a form of collage from the Net Art age, using the found images, cutting, and recombining of traditional collage, but without gluing and with a dynamic rather than static composition.

The titles are somewhat ironic, but they also have a personal dimension. My father is a theologian in the Netherlands, and the Christian connotations of ‘resurrection’ are a part of the range of references the works encompass. Perhaps that is an aspect of why they are so uncanny to me, the ways in which they gesture toward things I can apprehend but not fully comprehend.