Flotation Devices is a photo-based installation in which a constructed reality is presented in a theatre-like setting. Caught in a photographic corridor between movement and suspension, between ephemeral and permanence, the constructed images become part of a larger unfolding narrative with an indeterminate ending. Issues regarding the blurring of boundaries between the real and constructed realities, the fragility of the human body and psyche, the nature of coping with the unknown, and futile acts of attempted resolution play themselves out on a makeshift stage.
The ancient Roman baths in Bath, England are the setting for this body of work. Chosen for their timeless endurance as an historic public site and its stage-like setting, they provide a platform for the figure to perform what appear to be private acts in a public space. Much of the actions of the figure take place at the pool’s edge which provides a border between the solid stone foundations and the deep watery space beyond. That is, it acts as a border between the known and predictable, and the unknown and unpredictable. It is from this watery stage that the figure interacts with a number of key elements: the stage platform, the water that lies beyond the stage, the light source and the flotation devices themselves.
It is from the stage platform that the figure engages with various flotation devices. All the devices are altered in some way preventing or restricting their intended use and thus impeding entry into the water. Hovering between dream and reality, the conscious and subconscious, the figure is at once bathed in light and engulfed in darkness. Always presented alone with eyes shut, the figure withholds direct eye contact from the viewer, allowing introspection while the physical self strains to express itself outwardly. It is the deep water that lies just beyond the stage and the flood of light on the figure itself that creates a flux between the dark unknown and enlightenment, respectively. The viewer witnesses the futile and strained contortions of the lone figure hovering at the brink and must make the final interpretation.