Perception is personal to us. What we try to express we find is often lost through our attempts to communicate. Often when an artist displays paintings, drawing or sculptures for example, we as spectators are just that; spectators. We are viewing from the outside, a person standing before a frame, behind a barrier and signs which deny us from interacting with the art; "do not touch."
However, it is becoming more noticeably popular, in fact over the past few decades now, that artwork is more about the viewers' experience of the artwork, while still of course in no way compromising the artists' intentions. Through more immersive artworks, such as Shona Illingworth's Lesions in the Landscape, we are encouraged to explore ourselves in relation to the work. We become active participants in the reception of the artwork, shaping the piece to adhere to our own personal perceptions.
Experience is the genesis of knowledge, and so we gain from it. It also changes how we view and understand the world. So where Shona Illingworth's project examines the impacts of amnesia, of memory loss, we must draw upon what we already know to shape our reception of the work. The immersive environment means we are actively engaged and attentive to the piece, crossing a threshold where art is not linear. It does not belong to the physical space in which it is displayed but rather the mental space where we are confronted and made to consider the issues the artwork provokes. Our role has changed; we are no longer passive spectators, we are involved.
Entering into the darkness, one becomes disorientated and for a short moment you may feel lost until eyes adjust to the light from the three screens which dominate the space. You sit, or stand, alert to the noise from the multi-channel sound installation that accompanies the film, ambient sounds which hold some sense of familiarity yet are also alien and strange. One cannot leave Lesions in the Landscape without it having impacted them in some way.
Lesions in the Landscape is open at FACT Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 6pm until 22 November.