#031 TAKING LIBERTIES
The Site Of The Palm
We have access to the void, it’s in the palm of our hands; the only thing stopping us from falling into it is the screen that is nestled in-between. The screen is a site in and of itself. It acts as a transmission and reception point for representations of the world. Smart phones and tablets, these are the screens that exist in our palms, they are personal devices that often serve one user exclusively. These screens provide engagements that transcend site while simultaneously binding place: the place of the transmission, the place of representation and the time in-between. The site of the palm is hyper-place.
A toy snake faces a projection of a forest in a hand in one of the prints in Kai Wasikowski’s Handscapes series. The hand is extended to the snake, an open gesture, and a welcoming invitation. But the snake is fake, and so is the forest. Both images are displaced from the other. They allude to the natural landscape, but nature they are not. They are signifiers of a place, but place they are not.
Wasikowski creates these images by trudging through old toy boxes and image archives. The origins of the projected images may be from his own archives of forgotten landscape shots, or innocuous grabs from public image website like Google Images. Once constructed, what the total work comes to present is a recreation of an idea of a place. Be it a rainforest, a beach, an ocean paradise or an infinite sky, the image is a construction of an idea. The image is tethered to reality, but is un-reality.
The Handscapes series works from images to recreate the idea of place. The hand does not touch the landscape, but touches its representations. By surrounding the hand with overtly synthetic signifiers of different sites, the artist highlights the need for an awareness of the images that surround us. All images are tethered to reality, but are in themselves, un-reality.
In Wasikowski’s series there are no screens. The image is projected straight onto the palm. The images have been constructed relying on memory and external clues to create a representation. The work is created based off an idea of a place, a place experienced not through the physical site but through representations. Handscapes are a projection of hyper-place. They are images about the separation, separations of not just creatures from their home, but also of lived place and represented site.
- Luke Letourneau