Strophe, A Turning is the culmination of over three years of research. As with much of her work over the past decade, drift is a central focus and unifying theme.
Ga opens the piece with a quote from the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, who compared launching messages in bottles to the act of writing poems to an unknown reader. The piece then explores the obsession of launching and collecting messages in bottles, including the pilgrimage to the patron saint of messages on the Greek island of Symi. On visiting this island, and its neighbor Lesvos, in the summer of 2015, Ga is confronted by the mutable context of these islands, and decides to join a team of volunteers aiding asylum seekers and refugees. This experience, and the experience of documenting what is happening over the course of the past two years, raises numerous questions about the role of the artist, and how the symbol of a message in a bottle can be interpreted as a call to act.
The video installation is structured in separate strophes or verses, each one connected to the next by a shared geography or narrative. As each strophe closes, the screen darkens and a new verse opens on the opposing screen, requiring the viewer to turn and follow the reversals and shifts which have altered the course of the piece. Each turn launches a new facet of the narrative: an imperative change of direction in the story and perspective.