DUALISM OF THE OCEAN
The dualism of the sea – the intrinsic polarity of the sea, that influences our perception. It’s a polarity that needs every discrepancy and contrariness in order to exist.
The sea moves, but it never moves on. It is the aperture into a reachable distance. It offers protection and harbors dangers, it’s measurable but still uncontrollable, is surface and depth, movement and rest, freedom and limit, it separates liquid from solid and is ever since symbol for solitude and dignity. Even from political and economic point of views there exist two controversial positions and conceptions about the sea, that also shape today’s marine law. On the one hand there are the followers of the “mare liberum”, on the other those who defend the “mare clausum” – open and closed sea (Hugo Grotius, John Selden). Even the Oceanic Turn tries to transform our terracentric world view into an oceanic one, and therefore pleads for perceiving the sea as a historical space. Spacial Theory also talks about the interaction between plain and nicked spaces, wherefore the sea is regarded as a paragon.
Because of the current political situation, the Mediterranean has been strongly focused and receives a lot of attention. People talk about the sea as a natural border, and about political and economic zones on the liquid. But in fact these views do only subtly influence our perception of the blue vacation magnet.
This work tries to translate this very contradictory and bilateral perception into materiality. When entering the room, we first encounter a white wall, that – because of its little holes – deigns a look on the other side, but only after stepping behind it, we find out what is really hidden on the other side. Two things are facing: on the one side there is a video projection, looking from the land onto the sea, on the other side there is placed a mash-banner with a picture that represents the opposite view, from the water to the land. And we are placed right between.
The picture on the banner is easily visible from the distance and separates a brown/green from a blue area. The nearer you approach the pictures, the more accurate structure and lines appear, that let us presume a digital origin of the picture. The banner is 2 meters high and thus belongs to the category of security fences “Anticlimb”. On the other side there is the video projection; clear image sections of beaches, recorded in Greece. Lamellae shutters move in the rhythm of the wind, allowing in one moment a glimpse onto the sea, and closing it in the next. This interplay between shutters and sea generates structures and moments that seem to be reflected on the banner. The sound of the video-loop fills the gap. We hear the sound of the sea, the wind, clattering and slapping shutters, twittering birds, people talking, airplanes, jet fighters and a drone.
Banners advertise. Yes, they do promote, give an outlook on the future, what is happening in the background. On the other hand banners are also able to hide and disguise. With this kind of banner, we have in both cases the possibility to look behind despite all boundaries and limitation.
The shutters, however, have the potential to be closed or opened over a decision. Someone or something has to operate it to change their state. They are not static compared to a banner, but made for movement and modifications.
Both elements are connected in this work. Thus they can approach, supplement and need each other in order to discover details.
Prof. Heiner Blum, Prof. Dr. Hans Zitko, Stefan Harth
2016 HfG of Main, diploma show, Offenbach am Main
video installation, 10 meters mash banne