Displaced - 2009

Let there be light,’ this is the first commandment in the Bible. And thus light was separated from darkness. And thus the platform of the human understanding of time as being linear was created, that which starts at the beginning and finishes at the end.

In modern literature and narratology there have been many attempts to break with the linear notion of time: that time must necessarily be depicted and represented as one consistent line. This is also Silas Emmery’s point of departure; to try to destroy a linear narrative, disintegrate the times and create an actual shift in time in an anti-causal process, where several times exist at once – and in Displaced, rooted in light. Silas Emmery’s interest in old magazines, cameras and reversal film from the 1960s is then not a nostalgic look back, but originates from an interest in the concept of ‘time.’

Often when art is experienced, it is through others’ photographical documentary of a performance, an exhibition, or a specific work. And often, one knows these reproductions rather than the actual work. Silas Emmery has found a photo documentary of a large exhibition about light art, ‘Lights in Orbits,’ in an old photo magazine from 1967, which took place at the prestigious New York gallery, Howard Wise Gallery in 1967. The article shows several of the exhibited light installations, but there are also photographs of a more psychedelic character, which show the photographer’s own interpretation of light art. In the article there is also a ’do-it-yourself’ manual to be found, so that one can experiment with photography and light at home.

These are the instructions that Silas Emmery has followed, which he shows at EXIT09: the photographic results of an experiment prescribed in a photo magazine from 1967. However, it is not the photographic results in themselves that interest the artist, but the process in itself, levelling out time and creating shifts, – between then and now, between the art work and the photographic documentation in it, between the creation of the piece and its result as a completed piece. Thus he does not simply show a completed piece, but the complete history of its creation. Not just completed parts, but rather a clutter, which together shape the aesthetical process as well as the effort to disintegrate the linear time-dimension – and simultaneously reflect upon the relationship that exists between a piece and its photographic depiction.

Text written by Maria Kjær Themsen


-  4 c-prints, magazin, exhibition plan and overview from Lights In Orbit at the Howard Wise Gallery (1967).