BOUNDARY Vs SIMULACRA – Emma Wallbanks
It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972
Emma Wallbanks’ works resist immediate logic. The film and accompanying framed pieces unsettle traditional landscape imagery, splicing and re-constructing.
I wanted to compose the work as a poetic rhythm; without a rational order, which
I hoped would resonate a philosophical
strife to comprehend language with logic
– Emma Wallbanks
The framed works take moments from her video work A PATHETIC FALLACY, creating still photographic images. Through her manipulations Wallbanks makes these images anonymous. This serves to remove them from their photographer and documentary functionality, becoming more about our notions of natural form and subtle aesthetic qualities.
Shifting away from original content, at any given time the work signifies not just the sprawled coded function of any image, but also photography’s malleable framing of context – and in my case form as well. The original slides are personal emblems of the past, yet due to their anonymous content I’m able to single out moments. Qualities such as: scratches, blurred lines, where image meets film strip, light leakages or non exposure.
– Emma Wallbanks
The landscapes in A PATHETIC FALLACY are intersected with a short-animated clip taken from The Enchanted Square (1947), which acts as a metaphorical reference to the act of seeing. In the animation the blind girl uses her hands to seek out a Raggedy Ann’s eyes. Wallbanks centres her work around language and seeing – how we view the world, how we translate our understanding back and our knowing.
The intricacies of form in juxtapositions of colour, shape, borders and line are a part of Wallbanks’ innate knowledge of landscape and photographic histories. Randomly yet carefully selected and cropped these works contain a transient temperamentality, constrained by form but jagged in nature. We linger and pause on some details and rush through others, capturing fragments that establish a fuller grasp on our own seeing and place in amongst the works.