Watts Contemporary Gallery
Fieldwork and Other Landscape Stories is an exhibition by our Artist in Residence, Monica Takvam, of photography and sound that explores language, our perception of nature and the landscape. The work examines what we can and cannot see. It invites questions about how we use our senses, how we imagine and how memory and language play an important role in perceiving our surroundings.
The exhibition examines seeing the landscape in two parts. One part consists of large scale photographs that examine the hidden, what we see and what we want to see, through landscape photography and descriptions by blind, visually impaired and sighted people. Their words have been transcribed in Braille on a translucent layer in front of the image, but as cut-out holes rather than the usual raised dots, providing fragmented views into the photographed nature. The actual words are unrecognizable for many viewers who cannot read Braille. Accompanying audio descriptions are soundscapes and interpretations of the photographs, providing an alternative image of the space that we cannot merely see with our eyes.
A series of woodland photographs form the second part of the project. Together with a book of short texts or landscape stories, these explore the image of nature and the context in which we perceive these surroundings. The texts question the connection between perception and knowledge, how what we see is influenced by what we want to believe.
Watts Contemporary Gallery, free admission.
Monica Takvam, Artist.
Fieldwork and Other Landscape Stories is the culmination of my exploration into the question of what is lost or gained by description and how words or obstructions alter our perception of the landscape in front of us. The more we describe, the more we either give or detract, or alter the perception. I am fascinated by how our brain tries to make sense of what we perceive and makes connections even where there might not be any. The exhibition is curated in a way to engage the viewer, allowing them to draw invisible lines between the photographs, sound, text and implied meaning. As a photographer and artist, I am always interested in the limitation of photography and what we can and cannot see.