Allure: “The quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating”.
Become immersed in an underwater world as the enticing Siren lures you further into her grasp. Relax as the three-dimensional configuration of the screens subverts your perspective of reality. Use the pedal (gently!) to move the water and watch as the light ricochets around the room, and the projection is distorted.
A-lure is a multi-screen installation work that draws on the notion of ‘the double’ which Joan Jonas explores in her Reanimation (2010,/2012,/2013) installation. Inspired by Jonas’ crystal sculpture, the video is projected through water onto a mirror which refracts the light onto a roof. The performative element of Jonas’ work is reimagined by enlisting the viewer as the performer, allowing them to manipulate the sculpture and create their own unique version of the work.
A-Lure captures a mysteriously beautiful Siren as she entices the viewer with her graceful movements and inviting gaze. The title has a double meaning which represents the duplicitous nature of Sirens themselves. Firstly, it means ‘Allure’ in the sense of being “powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating”. And, secondly, it means that the Siren herself is a lure – a type of bait, a temptation.
The imagery, although calming and gentle becomes increasingly distorted, doubled, and twisted. This represents the sultry exterior of the Siren and the darkness that lurks within her. I aimed to depict the beauty and glory of the Siren’s song through the cinematography, as well as her sinister side when she successfully captures her victim. This is achieved through the juxtaposition of dream-like imagery and darker, abstract complex images.
I endeavoured to create an experience for the viewer. I wanted them to feel as though they were underwater and intimately experiencing an encounter with the Siren. I achieved this by projecting in a three-dimensional space, so that the viewer is surrounded by imagery of water. Calming music reminiscent of water further creates an ambience to fully immerse the viewer in an underwater world.
Joan Jonas is a renowned pioneer of performance and video art. She is known for her exploration of the female as an empowered figure, and imagery of ‘the double’ which characterises her oeuvre. A-Lure is inspired by Joan Jonas’ installation work Reanimation: a fusion of video, performance, and sculpture.
The elements of this work which I drew inspiration from include:
A recurrent theme throughout Jonas’ work, doubling allows the for consideration of the human psyche as multifaceted, and multilayered. Throughout A-Lure this is visually represented in the duplication of the Siren in different manners.
Folk tale origins
Just like Jonas’ work was based upon a folk tale. A-Lure is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey which described the sirens in the following passage:
“They approach the island of the lovely Sirens, and Odysseus, as instructed by Circe, plugs his men’s ears with beeswax and has them bind him to the mast of the ship. He alone hears their song flowing forth from the island, promising to reveal the future. The Sirens’ song is so seductive that Odysseus begs to be released from his fetters, but his faithful men only bind him tighter.”
The performative element of Jonas’ work is reimagined in A-Lure. Instead of the subject of the film enacting a performance, the audience takes on this role. Because of the interactive nature of the installation, the viewer is able to manipulate the sculpture and create their own unique version of A-Lure.
I re-conceptualised Jonas’ crystal sculpture for my work. I wanted to create a sculpture that was a static yet moving mechanism of lights as hers was. So, I experimented with the reflection and refraction of light using mirrors. I was also interested in the dispersement of light as it passes through various mediums. The end result was a projection into a fish tank filled with water that had a mirror placed at the bottom. I added a drum-pedal so that the viewer can move the water and distort the projected image to their liking.
Songs used in this piece
Note: these songs were used under a Creative Commons Attribution License (reuse allowed).