An investigation into abjection when there is nowhere else to go

An investigation into abjection when there is nowhere else to go reflects on the world’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions across the globe have remained willful hostages in their homes in an effort to escape an invisible threat and prevent the deadly virus from spreading further. Social distancing has caused a significant portion of people’s lives to be navigated remotely from home and has thus stretched the boundaries of face-to-face communication.

Considering the virtual reality that the world has been plunged into today, this series of photographs questions the possibilities of human perception of reality as projected onto a virtual plane, where the physicality of space, time and matter are the product of simulation. The resulting installation has been modelled on 3D software and attempts to blur the boundaries between the living body and the inanimate object, the familiar and the unknown, the real and the fake. It inquires where each opposition converges into a symbiotic whole.

As the pandemic unfolded, governments regulated the mobility of their nations, instilling panic along the way. Phobia came to rule the world, whilst the media became the sole connection with the outside world. Reports of harrowing statistics and miscalculated political decisions fiercely invaded the privacy of the home. In the face of unprecedented crisis, the sense of certitude and security have become subjects of manipulation.

An ambiguity arises: is there such notion as feeling truly safe and at home? The installation explores the possibility of social and individual estrangement observed through the home environment. The latter has been explored as a safe space, as well as a prison. Moving from one room into the next, or between one corner and the other, does not guarantee a refuge. No image provides an exit for the wandering gaze of the viewer either. The uncanny may be lurking in the emptiness of spaces, polluting the photograph’s clinical environment. It may be about to enter our bodies or corrupt our minds, gazing at the viewer undisturbed. One could never escape the infinity of simulation; one remains stuck in a realm with oneself where all edges and distances are both points of separation and convergence.

This body of work observes alienation from the self and the familiar realized through the uncanny. The photographs question the functionality of the body and its relation to space. The claustrophobic nature of confinement is further developed with wide-angle shots, misplaced textures and unusually reflective surfaces. The series visualizes an expression in objecthood of a mounting internal anxiety. Containing the latter entertains the desire for self-annihilation. Projecting this onto the body means a new way of gaining control. The body becomes something else before consuming itself which leads to the creation of a new body, more efficient and capable of fleeing its cage in a severed state. The I identifies an other in its own destruction.