We all have facets of personality we reserve for different occasions – and home with family, at work, and so on – and which we are able to wear or switch between without conscious thought. They provide us with a degree of agency over in terms of how we are perceived by others and what we chose to reveal about ourselves.
But what of those aspects of self we don’t, for whatever reason, reveal, even to those closest to us? Those traits which we’re aware of but strive to keep hidden, most likely because we fear what might happen were we to express them, either to others or ourselves. We treat them as pariahs, pushing them down and away from our thoughts, but they never really go away; they remain just below the surface of thought, waiting for the opportunity to take hold, to tear friendships and relationships apart or terrorise us with fears we cannot express or really face because of the sense of panic or upset they induce.
These are the facets of self explored by Etamae within Pariah – The Hidden Persona, now open at the Hannington Arts Foundation. Eta is an incredibly expressive artist who uses both 2D and 3D forms in both static and interactive pieces, together with a use of space which tends to draw people into her installations and exhibitions. Within Pariah she again demonstrates with with the use of 2D and 3D pieces, some of which are animated, and within which the presentation space is very much a part of the overall installation – as is the environment; when visiting, it is essential you have your viewer set to Use Shared Environment (World → Environment) in order to view the installation under the intended environmental lighting.
The installation is set within a large cube space which extends above and below the visitor, being split by a transparent floor. On the walls of this cube are images of faces, male and female, each offering an expression and utilising a subtle animated texture which might be taken as the flow of thought / emotion. Floating within this space, again above and below the floor area on which the visitor stands, is a series of transparent cubes. On (and within) these are etched further faces bearing a look / emotion, some of which echo those on the wall. Some of the faces of these cubes are are animated, he images on them appearing to slowly pulse back and forth to give a further suggestion of the ebb and flow of feelings and emotions, and that inner struggle we can face with aspects of our own persona.
Also on the walls are extracts from the lyrics of Keep the Streets Empty for Me, a track from the debut studio album by Fever Ray, an alias used by Swedish singer-songwriter / performer Karin Dreijer, and first released in 2009. The lyrics of the song are well suited to this exhibition, containing as they do introspective reflections / pleas, with the Outro refrain in particular well suited to the theme of the exhibition.
I don’t want to see too much more about the art or the installation, as by its nature, Pariah – The Hidden Persona is a “personal” piece in that it will speak to each of us differently, and as such should be visited and experienced first-hand. There is simply no way the manner in which the images and words within the installation will impact you as they did me. So this being the case, and having hopefully set the scene, I invite you to visit the installation yourself.
- Pariah – The Hidden Persona, HAF (Xeltentat Enterprises, rated Moderate)