Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lynette Wallworth: Evolution of Fearlessness

I recently went to see this installation held at the University of Brighton's Art Gallery.

Evolution of Fearlessness is an intimate, interactive installation dealing with loss, survival and strength. The work incorporates filmed portraits of several women, originating from countries such as Afghanistan‚ Sudan‚ Iraq and El Salvador. They have lived through wars or survived concentration camps or extreme acts of violence and are brought directly to the audience, through this intimate installation, to share their stories.

Built around the importance of gesture‚ and responsive to touch, Evolution of Fearlessness provides a tactile gateway to the women contained in the piece. Whilst cinematic techniques are at the heart of Evolution of Fearlessness, the work goes beyond cinema in its immersive and interactive form, revealing the strength of the human spirit. The work resonates strongly with the themes running through Brighton Festival 2011, which have been inspired by the courage of it's guest curator, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The room was very dark, a small lamp focused on a book in one corner where viewers could sit and read. I could also see a glowing light which I first headed towards. I touched the light and a life sized women gradually appeared. She put her hand out and looked at me. I touched her hand while continuing to look at her face. She projected such  intense sad emotions just by her facial expressions alone. She gradually faded and the glowing light reappeared. I touched the light again and a different women emerged. This unique but similar experience repeated several times with a different person.

I usually like to video exhibitions that I visit but this one I couldn't. This wasn't because photography was not allowed either. It was due to the emotional response that this installation had on me. It was so effective in conveying such sad emotions of each individual. I was literally in tears, and this was before I even read the horrendous stories of their lives. While there was a book containing each women's personal story to read as part of the installation, there was also a little booklet to buy. I have just finished reading all the stories :-(  Although it's so sad reading their tales it shows how individuality can prevail in such awful social systems. The courage of these women is commendable.  The video below is a clip about the installation.

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