States of Mine is a work of installation art within the Falmouth University International Landings exhibition. The work will be live in Learning Teams – La Sella, Spain from 16-25th August and on the Landings website for a year from August 16th. Other exhibitions by current photography students and staff at Falmouth will take place internationally from 16-25th August and will continue live on the Landings website for a year.
The full title of the work is STATES OF MINE by WINDOWS OF SUSUZ.
The installation art seeks to explore the difficulty of showing the internal state of a human being, me, from an external surface image.
In these two photographs I am smiling. In one I am happy and in the other I am very sad. Even though I know which one represents each state I find it difficult to find evidence in the surface image. Do you know which is the sad one? How did you decide? Are you right?
Recently I was in Cyprus with my best mate Robert Kyprianou. We were photographing places inspired by the theme of his project called the Spirit of Cyprus. One place he took me to was Souskiou. I was moved powerfully by this visit and we returned several times to photograph it.
In 1974 Susuz had over 400 residents and then it had none. In the dispute between Turkey and Cyprus all these residents had to leave these homes as it was predominantly Turkish Cypriots and there was a similar fate for Greek Cypriots the other side of the Green Line. The village has been abandoned ever since as the property is still treated as owned by those who left.
I was more emotionally moved by the experience of being in this village than I expected or understood. On reflection it might take me back to my ancestors on my mothers side who were driven out by Turkish forces from Croatia up in to Hungary and were then annexed by Austria. Then my mum came to England for a new start after the war.
The windows of Susuz captured my attention and are a component of the installation art I will set up for Landings.
Each window is to a dwelling that was lived in by families up until 1974. There would have been happiness, sadness and the full range of lived experiences unfolding in this idyllic spot. My installation uses dwellings as a metaphor for the human state. A thriving house represents itself to the world by the state it is in. An abandoned house represents itself similarly. Each window is a representation of that state. Human beings, in this case me, hide many of the states I do not wish to show. These windows are a representation of some of those states.
The installation art will have 6 panels of 4 windows with each panel arranged as a window. (click) The six panels. This is part of the installation.
I wish to go further and be ambitious by treating the space as installation art rather than an installation of art. The distinction is given in Bishop (2005:6) where she says ‘in a work of installation art, the space, and the ensemble of elements within it, are regarded in their entirety as a singular entity.’
It would be too neat and tidy to say the Windows of Susuz are alone the representation of states of mine. That is not how we can ever describe our states. They are messy, difficult to tie down and often we, I, do not understand my own state. Sometimes I can explain it but still behave with complete lack of understanding of the explanation. I am conflicted. This is normal.
The rooms of Learning Teams and the building it is within therefore represent states of mine. Anything a viewer looks at or experiences is a representation of a state. For the Landings website presence I propose that the viewer uses anything within the space they are present in as representations of states of mine when they consider the work. The intent is to provoke participants to explore the idea of the internal workings and conundrums that lie behind a surface image.
Here is the first draft set of instructions for participants. (click) Instructions.
This installation art sits within the bigger project THE TRUTH & BEAUTY OF ME.
Bishop, Clare. Installation Art: a critical history (Introduction). 2005. Tate.