WITH THE INCONSTANT SUN AS MY SHADOW
Throughout time humanity has been pushed further and further from the centre of the universe: A long time ago we occupied the centre of all existence and we were the pinnacle of creation. But then we stopped fooling ourselves: Aristarchus was the first person to shove us from the middle of it all by putting forward the notion of a heliocentric model of the solar system. He was mainly forgotten until Nicolaus Copernicus put forward the idea again and officially pushed humanity to a secondary cosmic standing.
Since then other metaphorical ‘Copernican revolutions’ have followed that have upset the sureness of our importance in the world – God is dead, the author is dead, all deferment to a form of power to seek certainty is dead. Perhaps the only anti-Copernican revolution is the acknowledgement that all there is, is us, we occupy the centre when it comes to interpreting the world, and the only other reality beyond that is our insignificance.
One of the things that you realise when you observe and interact with Lisa Sammut’s work is that they look at the universe and its grandness and reduce it down to a more easily digestible form. These are props, instruments, and images – all of which possess a wry humour. They say, here is the universe, but I’ve contained it within an ancient peep-show device. The imagination in these devices is evident, but at the heart of all the works is the statement the human imagination is an inadequate tool when grappling with our own significance. We can sense our insignificance from time to time, but we are always led back to our own cloistered worlds and the importance of them too easily.
This is the tension that plays itself out within the works. They are both a testament to our immovable perspective, trapped within the body and the self-importance that arises from this while also being a statement of the absurdity and futility of this in comparison to the infinite universe.
Lisa has described her work as the creation of a mis en scene that tries to capture her feelings towards this tension between our self-aggrandising imagination and the cold, indifferent vacuum of space. The objects become props and the projections become backdrops. We, the viewer become actors, but as the work suggests, it is within a scene without a story.