Unrealised Projects Proposal

Miranda Lopatkin
MA Fine Art Central Saint Martins

Unrealised Projects Proposal

Partly influenced by Freud's work on the Uncanny I am exploring the representation of the 'un homely', a place that feels familiar yet creates a sense of unease or tension. For Freud it was the fundamental propensity of the "familiar to turn on its owners, suddenly to become defamiliarized, derealized, as if in a dream"1

I have unrealised ideas about a project set to take place in Berlin and possibly in other European areas of historical interest such as Warsaw and Amsterdam. By looking at shafts of light and dark; and by exploring the "Dark Spaces, of the pall of gloom which prevents the full visibility of things, men and truths"2; I wish to explore the realm of memory where facts fade and distort, the familiar becomes unfamiliar and domestic environments can seem unhomely. Within the shadowy photographic images that I wish to produce the figures will begin to camouflage into their surroundings, assimilating with one another.

Reflecting upon the tensions around identity and camouflage, Vidler comments on the philosopher Caillalois's ideas by writing that;"The insect that looked like the leaf on which it was seated could equally be destroyed or eaten amongst the leaf"3

Vidler appears to be entertaining the thought that whilst the insect may look like a leaf, it is in fact not a leaf. If we are then to draw an analogy between insect and human life,this is reminiscent of the situation of many seemingly 'assimilated' Jews in Germany, pre Nazi rule. Many individuals, who were born in to Jewish families or those with Jewish lineage, did not follow the religious doctrines, or even cultural traditions of Judaism. Such individuals would consider themselves to be assimilated, yet they were still not safe from the Concentration camps and gas chambers despite camouflaging into the milieu.

In many ways the images I wish to produce are not directly linked to the atrocities of Nazi Germany or the Holocaust but are more a result of a sense of personal history to which I am linked. Blurring the identities and distinctions between the shadows andtheir environment enhances the feeling that we can disappear although not completely whilst we are alive.

The architect Boulee commented on his own shadow as he said "Finding myself in the countryside, I skirted a wood by the light of the moon. My effigy produced by its light excited my attention"4 By referring to his shadow as an effigy Boulee is perhaps bringing our attention to the shadow which prefigures his body disappearing into the darkness.

By capturing the shadow images of people just before there are engulfed by darkness, one hopes will promote inquisitive thought around the atmosphere of the buildings,who may have once lived within the walls and what was their personal history was.Where they perhaps victims of terror, did they perhaps instigate terror amongst these historically potent buildings and streets. Through my photographic images I wish to provide a layer of mediation on which to analyse memory and that is lost on architectural spaces alone.

1 Sigmund Freud, 'The Uncanny'(1919) in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, p.335.
2 Foucault, The Eye of Power, p.153.
3 A.Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny, p.173.
4 Boulee, Architecture, p.136.

(Copyright Miranda Lopatkin)