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The Lost Room | 2003

The Lost Room

Lost Room is a series of photographic works shown in the Museo Del Barro in Ascunción, Paraguay.

Whilst in Paraguay the artist documented the room in which she was staying, recording details which she believed would certainly be erased by time from her memory – quotidian things such as how a table leg met the floor, the profile of a skirting board etc. Somehow there is a sense that we have this detailed, contingent information of rooms we live in inside of us, at a latent level but these details can not necessarily be brought forward from memory to the surface. In response to wanting to capture an embodied image, Seers recorded these images of the room and the vicinity of the house in her mouth, in a ritualised daily practice: preparing paper in the darkened wardrobe and then inserting the paper in her mouth whilst wearing a black sack, so that the images are captured in her body in a process that means she is physically conjoined to the moment of capture in an intense way. The distant click of the sealed black box of the camera could not fully connect her to act of photographing in the way this ritualised practise can. Lying down, often on the floor, she tries to retain the image through muscle memory as well as in her mind. The work is both melancholic and ecstatic as to the presence of matter in time and the extraordinariness of ordinary things. The work draws attention to one's own physical presence as matter (another object in the world) and the impact consciousness (memory) has on being present in the world.

This series uses a 25cm square format, some of the works are in pairs, all are mounted in deep box frames. Mixed with the red images from her mouth, literally blood coloured by the light passing through her cheeks, are black and white images from a 6 x 6 camera triggered by a cable release in the artist's hand. This mechanical camera surveys the scene of the ritual – external to it, it gives an external view to this otherwise introspective practise. Somewhere between the objective view and the subjective view we grope for significance for the act of photographing.

Text by M.A.Penwill