Relationships to Spaces and Their Environments with Michelle Gevint

Featured Artist, Michelle Gevint, talks about her artistic process and inspiration behind her work, which examines personal and social relationships to architectural spaces and built environments. Her most recent projects include ‘The Sweet Stench Of Sulfur’ and ‘22.5 degrees of possibility’.

My thought process is usually triggered by a 2D image and formulates over time into multi-layered experience such as collage, moving image and installation. I’m drawn to places of duality and contradiction such as liminal spaces or spaces in transition. I often integrate fact and fiction to create a new narrative that gives access to engage with more abstract concepts. My two most recent works have been in the form of video.

In the film ‘The Sweet Stench Of Sulfur’, the narrative centers around a current natural disaster happening in the Dead Sea in the form of sinkholes. The film examines human interaction with nature and how nature reclaims itself through natural disasters.

The film introduces the phenomenon of sinkholes on a macro factual informative layer, while delving into a micro psychological consciousness. I do this through an array of methods such as collage style editing, sound and the use of different mediums, such as 8mm film, HD, animation and drone footage. Creating a fragmented dreamlike interpretation of the natural disaster provides an entry to critically engage with difficult concepts such as global warming. Each medium adds a different perspective – the drone shots create a sense of disorientation of the landscape. The viewer at times cannot assess the size and perspective. The 8mm film adds an element of time by evoking a sense of the past. I use the surreal atmosphere to create an entry point for any viewer and remove it from its specificity and locality by making it more universal, experiential and visceral.

The Sweet Stench Of Sulfur
My recent film called ‘22.5 degrees of possibility’ centers around the Burroughs Wellcome building in North Carolina. The building was designed by renowned architect Paul Rudolph who was commissioned in 1969 to design a state of the art laboratory facility. The building was once a symbol of ingenuity and progress both in its visionary design and in its use. It’s striking ‘stacked’ visual effect and use of cutting edge materials were a symbol of innovation and technological advancements. Today, it stands uninhabited, unimportant and neglected. As such, it is a relic of an era that resonates of an unfulfilled promise.
The film examines the relationship between image, sound, text and how those formulate narratives. I used a specifically designed computer code to randomly link sound and visual to text extracted from a literary archive. The archive is constructed from science fiction novels written in the early 70’s that use architecture as a method to convey psychological fears of the future and technology such as J.G. Ballard’s High Rise. The film reflects my interest in how both the novels and Rudolph’s masterpiece depict societies complex relationship with the future through architecture and the way we view these moments in time today. The film’s name is derived from Rudolph’s cascading ‘A’ shaped design which mirrors the 22.5-degree slanted ridge at the building’s site. The nature of the film intends to be a live performance of a machine where the code extracts in real time.
22.5 degrees of possibility

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