It is advantageous to view these films on a large screen - bearing in mind that each portrait is a constituent element of an immersive multi-screen installation with sound.
The purpose of the project is to explore the possibility of merging our personal inner-space with the inner-space of multiple ‘strangers’ via 360 degree projection-mapping and immersive sound.
That Which Transpires Behind That Which Appears (Transpires) is a series of immersive film-art installations that explore face-to-face conversations which take place without words. A Transpires exhibition consists of multiple large-scale, moving-image portraits, filmed from inside the intimate space of subjects, using a hidden arrangement of mirrors.
In amplifying patterns of involuntary saccadic eye movement, facial micro-muscle activity and breathing fluctuations, Transpires foregrounds minute communications that spontaneously occur at lightning velocity underneath the binary layers of likes and dislikes upon which we habitually define ourselves.
While we are predominantly conditioned to think in ways that can be articulated using language, our bodies possess an advanced capacity to ‘think’ somatically in pre-verbal paradigms that operate beyond linguistic syntax. This embodied ‘knowing’ tends to be rationally filed away as nebulous intuition, or gut-feeling of questionable practical value.
Yet our neurophysiological architecture has evolved over millennia to become the most complex entity known to science; our pre-verbal social-communication system in particular is especially sophisticated. The most fluent site of tangible activity is of course the human face, with our eyes acting as eloquent conduits of wordless veracity.
Engaging with Transpires means entering a reciprocal stream of intuitive cognitive activity that flows in both directions. The process bypasses discursive thinking patterns, thereby dissolving boundaries of language, religion, culture, politics, ethnicity, age, gender, socio- economic status and personal sovereignty.
Participants subliminally discover how in vital, if consciously unknowable respects, each of us is also ‘the other person’. Participants report increased levels of innate correspondence with ‘strangers’ – quiet, yet profound exchanges that precipitate mediated ‘dialogue’ with projections in gallery and cinema contexts.
Participant comments: “This artwork brings us a step closer to world peace.” “It should be mandatory for Heads of State to participate in this experiment.” “I would take part in this project on a weekly basis if I could.”
While established photographic terminology is replete with the language of aggressive material acquisition (we ‘take’ pictures; we ‘shoot’ photographs and films; we ‘capture’ images), Transpires advocates a receptive rather than an acquisitive approach, in which the formulation of images is conceived of as an interaction between perceiver and perceived, not as a conquest.
Transpires de-stigmatises difference and functions as an antidote to politics of estrangement. The accent is on inter-connectedness, not otherness and the status of the process is in equanimous balance with the product. In this configuration of creativity, the artist is positioned as an unselfconscious catalyst rather than a self-determined author. Participants and observers are regarded as co-creators and collaborators.
The film elements in Transpires comprise of the simplest unit of filmmaking - the close- up. There is no set, no action, no actors, no dialogue and no editing. Framing is uninflected, using a standard fixed-lens under neutral lighting. Voluntary participants see no camera, there is no costume or make-up and only minimal guidance is offered. Nonetheless, this amalgamation of non-interventions provokes us to locate maximum meaning from minimum means. Integrated meaning transpires as a by-product of involuntary reciprocity.
In an era of aggressive, competitive individualism (predicated on dualism), Transpires advocates a unified alternative. The artwork is not ‘about’ its subject-matter. Indeed, no hierarchy is proposed between artist and subject. There is no conceptual message that resides outside of the work. Such an artwork is able to evolve, only with inclusivity as its core.