Objects in Mirror Might Be Closer
Than They Appear in collaboration with Julian Charrière | Exclusion Zone Belarus, 2016
Objects in Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear #1, 2016 | archival pigment print, 82 x 62 x 4 cm
Objects In Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear (2016) is a double-channel video installation with a semi-transparent mirror in the center. The video work was shot in the Exclusion Zone, an area with a 30-kilometre radius surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant whose explosion in 1986 rendered the land uninhabitable. Objects In Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear (2016) is an excursion into the “involuntary park” which this region has become—a glimpse into a largely human-uninhabited place overrun by wildlife and forest. In the resulting 12-minutes film, close-up images (as reflected in a deer’s eyes) alternate with found footage of the first images of Earth from NASA and other archives. Everything is seen through the perspective of a living deer. By mounting a camera onto the animal’s antlers and directing it towards its eye, the landscape is reflected on the deer’s retina: a mixture of an invisibly decaying but thriving natural ecosystem and the ruins left by the humans that once dominated this space, rejected infrastructures of a forgotten nuclear past.
The deformed image, a direct product of the curvature of the animal’s ocular perception system, serves as a metaphor to an altered present, an altered environment in which these animals now live. These images dialogue within the piece with found footage of the first spacial mission, the subjectivity of the astronaut looking at the earth from above directly responds to the subjective perspective of the deer itself. Both images represent scenarios where humans have extracted themselves from their natural habitat. Early space travellers’ unfiltered awe at the first sightings of the blue planet stands in stark contrast to the dystopian post-nuclear wasteland that was left after the Chernobyl catastrophe. Where the exclusion zone is portrayed as an uncanny universe, seen through ghostly projections, the NASA archive footage presents Earth from a meta-perspective, in all its fragility.
Objects in Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear #2, 2016 | archival pigment print, 82 x 62 x 4 cm
Objects in Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear # 3 | archival pigment print, 82 x 62 x 4 cm
Installation view ‘Objects in Mirror Might Be Closer Than They Appear’, Art Basel Unlimited 2017 | full HD colour film (12:42 min.) 4:3 aspect ratio, stereo sound, double-projection on semitransparent mirror foil