From February 19 2000 to March 25 2000
fluid space et Empire line
Antonia Hirsch (Vancouver)
Exhibition :February 19th - March 25th 2000
In the work Empire Line, a woman wears a dress inspired by the style known as “empire.” A video projection shows the woman slowly lower herself into the water, fully immersing herself while wearing the empire dress. As the dress changes color, we become aware that it is made entirely of tea bags. Through the creation of this dress, the artist refers to the beginning of the 19th century, when the British Colonial Empire reached its height of power. Many contemporary post-colonial structures and hierarchies affecting social, political and economic life today were established during this period. With Empire Line, Antonia Hirsch revisits the semantic fields of the female body, culture and post-colonialism. The notion of purification evoked by the body’s immersion in the water becomes ambiguous; cleansing and staining become one. Assuming tea as a metaphor for cultural and economic exchange, this ritual takes an ironic look at the notion of cultural immersion.
Fluid Space focuses on issues of displacement, nationality and utopia. The work draws a parallel between a journey and the utterance of a word. Evoking an inner as well as an outward journey, fluid space makes use of water imagery. It draws on the parallel characteristics of acoustic waves and ocean waves as well as water’s transformative qualities. The soundscape is composed of numerous sounds that emerge and vanish from the acoustic space. A voice speaking English and German words is juxtaposed with sounds of water and breathing. For the artist, the passage from one language into another may cause a loss of control. This experience can be liberating, similar to the pleasurable feeling of floating on water, but it can also be threatening, like the sense of drowning.