Whilst on a research trip to China, Mongolia and Japan in 2007, I travelled via the Trans-Mongolian railway. My journey through Asia gave me the opportunity to experience time and sleep in different locations and its meaning to other cultures. My relationship to travelling became paramount to my photography and film work. By investigating the politics of location, I questioned what sleep and the body meant cross culturally and in different spaces.
Through lens-based media, I explored time and what it might mean as a woman to be 'staging' sleep performances in different spaces and locations. Sleep was looked at from a physical viewpoint, and through the unconscious and imagination through dreaming. Dreaming allows entrances to simultaneous time zones and here interest in it evolved, coming to fruition in Japan, through research for The Dream Space.
The photography and films created as part of The Dream Space explored sleep experiences in contrasting spaces in Japan, from the 'capsule' hotels designed for speed and mass capitalisation, to a Buddhist temple, requiring reflection, ritual and spirituality. The work questioned the notion of the observer and the observed, as I investigated the varying viewpoints of the camera lens and explored what happens when women are both sides of the camera.
Drifting on a Pink Cloud, duration 9' 28", Karen Heald & Rachael Kearney (2007).
In collaboration with Takeko Akamatsu, Rachael Kearney, Yosuke Kawamura, The Dream Space was funded by Wales Arts International (WAI). The preliminary artworks were exhibited and toured Japan via MOBIUM (a mobile museum). Venues included the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the University of Nagoya.