Alana Tyson and the Arts Council of Wales commissioned Karen to create a film and text for the following publication.

Heald, K. (2015) 'y tu mewn y tu mewn' | ‘Interiors Interiors’. In: Tyson, A. ed. Eglurhad | Explication. Ruthin, Arts Council Wales & Ruthin Craft Centre.

Text Description: 

Interior, Interior

As an artist whose practice frequently involves collaboration with a variety of people and disciplines, I have found that collaborations can take time to develop or happen serendipitously. They can begin with exchanges of ideas that might be verbal conversations, an action, or making artworks depending upon interactions with particular individuals and groups. This entails an intuitive, responsive and reflective practice. It allows a space between ambiguity, reality, serendipity and lucidity, which operates upon different levels of consciousness emphasising the notion of 'transitory strata". [1]

Alana Tyson invited me to collaborate on her multi-sensory installation Interior, produced during the residency at Ruthin Craft Centre. Our creative process began with conversations around Alana's concept for Interior and our aspirations that the new artwork would outlast the installation and be experienced from different perspectives. Being former painters who now 'paint' using diverse materials we responded to each others vision through the medium of film. 

In order to overcome a representational or pure documentary approach, we used a variety of cameras and lenses that potentially offered a poetic, non-linear way of working. Besides our relationship with painting we also had a shared interest in textiles; Alana through her preoccupation with fabrics within her installations and myself from an earlier career as an interior designer.

The fusion of detailed, blurred and pulled focus shots in the film explores the sensual folds of hand-stitched fabric. Resonating throughout, satin, a textile that mimics silk, acts as a metaphor for the visceral body. Colours within the film seep softly between sepia, copper, midnight blue and black altering audiences perceptions. The incorporation of subtle lighting and the minutiae add to the film's poetics that continues to subvert the expression 'it's what's on the inside that counts'. The mobility of the seemingly structured walls and the layered sound of sinister breathing add to this duplicity. 

The labyrinth of vertical and horizontal planes within the film offers diverse readings from enclosure, entrapment and containment. Alongside these ambiguous moving-images are allusions to diverse landscapes and environments hinting at universal cosmic qualities. Through this exploratory visual language the film subtly references Gilles Descartes concept of the 'embodied self'; metaphysically and epistemologically questioning the relationship between the body and self, knowledge of our own bodies and our relationship with the universe. In addition, the slowing down of the films various edits and it's duration of 11" 19" attempts to inspire an experimential feeling of contemplation and meditation within the viewer.

Karen Heald 

[1] Heald, Karen.‘Dream Films’ and Research as Collaborative Practice through Contemporary Art and Science Methodologies. Ph.D Thesis. Leeds Metropolitan University, 2014.

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