Geert Mul (2014)
Dome 800 x 380 cm. Transparant printed foil and LED light.
Artefact is the annual arts festival of Leuven arts centre STUK. This years theme is: The Prehistory of the Image. Geert Mul made an special installation for the Artefact exhibition. From the inside the installation is illuminated with LED lights that change color permanently, making images appear and transform depending on the color. Pleisto-Scene Artefact plays with the thought that the image is pre-historic by definition, as linear history only began when man started to use code in a linear fashion (writing) . The image is a pre-historical artefact.
In the installation Pleisto Scene Artefact I approached the prehistoric image as a form of visual communication that is still up-to-date in the contemporary usage of the image. Actually ‘prehistoric image’ is a pleonasm. The image is pre-historic: it does not need a historic (= linear) concept of time, like writing, to transfer information. History as we perceive it only began when man started to use code in a linear fashion (writing) . The image is a pre-historical artefact.
In the installation ‘Pleisto Scene Artefact’, I wanted to investigate the contemporary quality of the prehistoric image and the use figurative imagery as a magical depiction of man and nature. The magic part is that the figurative image introduces (cultural) reflection, by deconstructing ‘the real’ and enable us to reflect on it, it introduces the I, the We and The Other. The image of a mountain does not refer to that specific mountain, it refers to the perception of that mountain, it refers to how culture allows us to perceive a mountain in the first place. Therefore visualisations of mountains are cultural specific by definition. (How could one even suspect the existence of an ‘universal’ image?, it is such an obvious political construct !) The mountains themselves are neither cultural specific nor ‘universal’ as they simply defy the category; they are nonexistent without culture. The “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” concept is as old as the image itself. This concept does not devaluate the image - on the contrary, it confirms the function of the image as an instrument for basal reflection.
Animals that recognise themselves in a mirror, have a self-consciousness. In Pleisto Scene Artefact, I use the image of a person’s shadow in combination with an image of the shadow of a tree. It is the most basal depiction of consciousness - a reflection and a separation of the ‘I’ and of Nature. This image in this work is created by the most basal medium: light. It depicts the shadow - even more minimal, being the absence of light. Making use of light in this work is a form of magic. Changing the colour of the light’s makes images appear and disappear. The medium is so basic that it beholds a complete mystery for most people, it is long forgotten…
Even though today’s image, be it on the internet, in commercials, in science and in arts is layered and cultivated, the properties of the prehistoric image are still up-to-date. The image by opening the world up for reflection, still constructs and mediates consciousness. The image constructs, recognises and articulates the different realities that exist next to one another: divine, spiritual, humanistic, virtual and augmented.
Geert Mul Feb.2014.
Thanks to Kunsten centrum STUK,
Frans van Viegen
Mondriaan Foundation Holland.