Jennifer West | Edith Dekyndt | Shana Moulton
Wednesday 19 - Sunday 23 September 2012
Curated by Harriet B Mitchell as part of PAMI
Around the same time I happened upon these three films for the first time, I’d been reading an essay by Hélène Cixous recounting her experience of recovered sight after a lifetime of severe myopia, ending with an unexpected twist in which she finds herself grieving for her former semi-blind self. I enjoyed the way Cixous mythologised her myopic state as a positive, and it made me think about the process of myth-making, the pseudo-magical, and dreamy visions. Almost automatically I began to browse articles related to vision online, uncovering forums full of people discussing the finer details of their visual ailments. Reportedly, myopia sparkles are a phenomenon occasionally experienced by people suffering from nearsightedness, resulting in the perception of twinkly glints or flashes on the periphery of their vision. These flashes are often associated with headache, nausea, or dizziness, but more often occur without such symptoms. In this case, they are commonly called an ophthalmic migraine, or a migraine without the other accompanying symptoms. Perhaps somewhat naively, I allowed myself to imagine the possibility that seeing stars in the corner of the eye could make for a pleasurable trip, much in the same way that Cixous became attached to her myopia. All of the works in this show feature abstract, shimmering, colourful shapes that move mesmerisingly within the visual field. Each carries its own mythology and is imbued with a sense of the mystical.