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Vanishing Twin (Tetragametic Chimerism) | Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway | 23rd January - 2nd March 2019

Materials: 23 framed photographs, 4 monitor works and a projection with stereo sound

In Vanishing Twin (Tetragametic Chimerism) | Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway, my intention is to play off the historic forms of editing and looking against the contemporary forms - how the new forms exacerbate and make vivid  fragmentation in consciousness.  This fracturing and speed of thought is potentially closer to how the mind works - scoping and moving through a huge diversity of fact/fiction, embodiment, disembodiment and affect, seeking coherence that is perhaps in reality not there.

Does anyone still believe a photo - I would say YES, post production has been there from the start and we may question more but decide it represents truth on a hunch.

In this emergent technological age the fragmentation of processes, information and social structures has been invasive. The systems of power have shifted.The resulting decentralization has provoked closed bubbles of communication networks, allowing belief in conveniently constructed truths to fester. There seems to be a permanent state of bored emergency in this maelstrom of constructed, faked, ill informed, subjective discourse. the relationship to selfhood as become exacerbated.

Yet in all this mess and failure of human/technological interaction and accusations of narcissism there is a possibility of something productive, there ha been much affection and investment in personal image production and sharing. Is there a need for experts/specialists any more? There is concern about mental health and self image, however here is nothing innately good or bad in a medium itself only in its use or interpretation. The mediums/programs (outside of presets) can hold endless possibilities for tailoring outcomes in high end devices (although admittedly much is made without human decisions).

The reemergence of ‘identity politics' associated to devices and platforms in recent times has opened up real challenges to the limitations of our own unaddressed prejudices, our unobserved repressed fears and desires, perhaps fear of those not exactly like us. In this time others hold up a mirror that shows us versions of our ‘self’ that had were hidden from consciousness and had gone unnoticed, hi-lighting errant conditioning that we need to consciously addressed. All of these thoughts have arisen during the making of this work.

The method for the evolution of the work has involved collecting of portraits of people with heterochromia over 6 years to date (often through chance encounters or through Facebook connections), I photographed and interviewed these subjects often in ad hoc situations, never in a bespoke studio). I photographed many of them laying down as I often record teh subjects laying down and use a technique from Mesmer to relax them as much as possible. They told me their life story in an open interview structure but I also constructed a shifting list of questions, in the search of connections across the subjects as they began to emerge. Naturally each of their stories inherently reflected their cultural and social context shaped by larger historical narratives. They all had this one thing in common that had had an impact on them in various ways, this being that they all had eyes of different colours–often arising from the genetic material of an unborn non-identical twin having been absorbed in the mother's womb (Tetragameric Chimerism). This striking phenomenon had singled them out to others but also to themselves. It represents genetically a haunting hybridity and this is at the root of my fascination for heterochromia. The off-setting of monocular vision is represented historically as an all- seeing God singular against the binocular of the human eyes, which implies a divided self trying to conjoin two points of view. This is made more apparent with the eye of another missing sibling looking out of you. The all seeing eye stands for an impartial view, which is embedded in the metaphor of the photo - another transcendent singular truth. (Although there are twin lens cameras they are not working in quite the same way as the human perception).The question arises "are we ever a singular self'; often there is a sense that we are alone in our consciousness, struggling with what it is to be human, unaware of how we are defined by others and exist in relation to others? As social animals we are preoccupied by our relationships with others and both psychologically and genetically we are carrying traces of inherited tendencies beyond our reach. Neuroscience also troubles our sense of having freewill and volition and suggests that the stories we tell ourselves and to others are necessary fictions that mask a self that is redefined in every new context/situation.

In Vanishing Twin for Fotogalleriet I was driven by the agency of the camera to open a space for biography (treating biography as a partial slice of the overall total human story). I believe the presence of the lens indubitably changes the nature if what is said, more is at stake, the move to confession that the camera can evoke seems to allow secrets to emerge. There is a truth is essentially embedded at the moment of capture but its reproduction and decontextualising can erase its fact.  These portraits stand for a group of people who were often troubled by their difference as children and marked out as adults as freakish but invariably were attached to being fairly unique.

The exhibited projection work takes the frame of an iphone as symptomatic of  the huge escalation of current image and sound production/observation, but this is presented as a large projection on a wall creating a hybrid  between cinema and the camera/tv phone device. The time space of the gallery differs extensively from the time space of the phone, the phone's  fast temporality and agitated collage of differing platforms is often moved through at speed, fragmenting across information and affect. My editing method was to use the swipe/dissolves, phone sounds and turning in orientation that appears on the phone as bringing a consciousness to the nature of the form of the smart phone and how it odes and does not relate to historic photographic and filmic/televisual forms.

In the huge swamp of general political/social ideas about the world and its current state each one of us has to navigate this excess of divergent information with our fleshy ageing bodies and our own specific and local perceptions. How do we conceive of a "race" or of  a "country"? These are categories that can not account for consciousness. Consciousness itself is what underpins any semantic thought.

 

Gallery Statement

Developing from their 2017 residency collaboration with British artist Lindsay Seers, Fotogalleriet and PRAKSIS are excited to announce the first solo exhibition in Norway by this widely acclaimed practitioner.
 

Throughout her career, Lindsay Seers has expressed a problematic relation to photography in terms of what it does through its imperial gaze onto the body of the other, in particular towards women. This prompted her to rethink the relationship between the subject and the object in photography; a process she developed by, for instance, turning herself into a camera, by pursuing a more performative approaches into the event of picture-taking, as well as by addressing how colonisation of peoples’ minds happens by means of scientific and technological exploitation.

For Fotogalleriet’s exhibition, Seers centres on a randomly appearing trait, the medical condition “heterochromia iridum” (a difference in eye colouration), where she brings together a range of people with diverse backgrounds from around the world, to ask what would a better understanding of these histories mean for the ways in which we define ourselves and how we would relate to each other if we were looking beyond scientific tropes? How does individual experience relate to that of the many? And who decides which voice is loudest and what should we hear?

People with two differently coloured eyes have been drawn together by Modern science to create categories no different from those applied through race, gender and sexuality. Meeting individuals from around the world, Seers creates a counter-community whose narration demounts dominant and hegemonic tropes in an emancipatory act to rebalance power relations otherwise negated.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lindsay Seers holds a long-standing relationship with Norway by having returned to these lands, whose jurisdiction as a nation-state reaches the Arctic, at several points in time during her career. While reviewing the 2011 international Biennale LIAF, in the Lofoten archipelago for Aftenposten, art critic Kjetil Røed described Seers’ piece as “By far the best work of the exhibition.” Seers lives on the Isle of Sheppey and works in London. She has exhibited at some of the most prestigious international venues for the presentation of contemporary art practices including Tate, London; MONA, Tasmania; Hayward Gallery, London; SMK (National Gallery of Denmark), Copenhagen; the Venice Biennale 2015; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; KIASMA, Helsinki; Turner Contemporary; Tate Triennial; Gallery TPW, Toronto; the Sami Centre for Contemporary Art, Kárášjohka, among many others. Grants and awards include the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Award; Le Jeu de Paume production award for the Toulouse Festival; the Paul Hamlyn Award; and the Derek Jarman Award. Her work is held in private and public collections, and Tate recently acquired one of her large scale installations titled Extramission 6.

ABOUT FOTOGALLERIET AND PRAKSIS COLLABORATION
In 2017 Fotogalleriet and PRAKSIS invited artist Lindsay Seers to lead the four-week residency programme titled «A Global State Of Pareidolia», during which she worked alongside fellow Norwegian and international practioners (more information about the residency is available at www.praksisoslo.org). While in Oslo, Seers engaged in cross-disciplinary dialogue with local scientists, researchers and others, and filmed part of the work which will be on view at Fotogalleriet. This Oslo presentation brings together other research the artist carried out over the past decade.