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Petra Kubisova

MA work

Rhodopsin

In my work I have been looking at the role of memories in our lives. They either get activated by photographs and objects, or through our senses. I have also been looking at the role of forgetting and remembering.

Rhodopsin is an installation including darkness, sound, images, strobe lighting, sensors and coding.

I wanted to create a space where I could work closely with memory. In utilising darkness, the role of the other senses becomes predominant. Our perceptions change rapidly once the visual is questioned and inner visual world becomes more accessible.

I decided to combine sounds, photographs and strobe lighting in the dark space to resemble the relationship of the afterimage of the image and the echo of the sound wave. Something once happened, an origin of an event, and it either gets recorded in a fragmented way into our brains and comes back to us as an 'after image' and/or 'echo', or it gets forgotten.

The images, taken from my family archive, are stretched and enlarged. The afterimage is achieved by set of strobe light flashes, it allows the image to be seen in fragments and to be imprinted on the photosensitive layer, (called Rhodopsin) present in the retina of the eye, and then the image travels into the brain.

In this situation time plays a significant role. It’s a split of a second that we see the image. After that the eyes hold the picture for some time and which is then erased by another flash. 

Sounds, originally recorded in domestic spaces and nature, are taken away from its source, stretched to the point when they become obscure and abstract soundscapes, one nearly wonders if he/she heard something or not.

 

Info

  • Profile picture
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Photography, 2014

  • My practice is focused on the photographic image; I use video, installation and interventions to question and destabilise photographic representations. The object, surface and physical materiality of the photographic image have been the background of my research. I scrutinise the relationship between photography and memory and how the process of forgetting/remembering can be captured and translated into visual form.

    As we dream and remember in fragments, never in full images, fragmentation has become key to my investigation. This fragmentation accompanies innovative usage of light, transparent materials and archive family photographs, as well as smoke/fog and wind, projections, reflections, strobe, illusions and movements within stillness.

    I have often tried to transform the image to investigate how much information it can retain when its flat form and texture is stretched into space. I have projected onto objects such as a barn, curtains and wood, on moving surfaces such as fog, and printed on transparent material.

     I recurrently question whether the photographic image is capable of presenting a certain truth when it seems impossible to capture the essence of the subject or object being photographed.

    My recent works have included projection of an archival image on smoke; applying wind to create movement in the projection on a curtain; using regulated strobe light and sound in a dark room to work with afterimage and echo. These works retain a strong haunting element which questions the matter of flashbacks, dreams, fragments from our memory, ghosts in relation to death and the past or present.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Editorial Photography, Middlesex University, London, 2008
  • Experience

  • Media Lab Technician at London College of Fashion, 2011-present; Photography assistant, Peter Mallet's Studio, Blain Southern, Haunch of Venison, Hauser and Wirth, Frank Cohen, Lazarides, 2008-12 ; Photography assistant, Mat Collishaw, 2010-12
  • Exhibitions

  • Venez Fruits Presses, curated by Rosanna Puyol, La Manutention, March 2014, Paris; Michael Hoppen Gallery, RCA photography at Splinter Photo Fair, London, 2013; RCA photography at Salon de la Photo Off, La Belleviloise, Paris, 2013; Rural, Red Gallery, London, 2013; Ou poser la tete, Paris, 2013
  • Awards

  • Shortlisted, Riverlight Lobby Award, 2014
  • Publications

  • Science & Fiction, Black Dog Publishing, 2014; Mirrors of Memory, 2013