Parallax suspends the viewer in a twilight zone where temporality and geography intersect in an oscilating motion between the virtual and the actual. It evokes the strategies by which humanity has created, and continues to create, ways of exploring and representing its real and imagined worlds. Parallax explores the way in which mapping is not only the representation of that which is already known, but may also become a projection of that which may still occur or be discovered.
Two disparate schematas of mapping – the one ancient and the other very contemporary – create a peculiar tension, and combine to create a world that seems at the same time to be a documentation and a ghost of itself.
On the one hand, we find a terrestrial realm which has been made up of different viewpoints of the city and environs of Johannesburg, using GoogleEarth. Set at an acute angle and at low altitude, an erratic, searching flying pattern emerges that glides over and even through geographic and architectural landmarks of the territory. In the collaborative community of GoogleEarth, contributors create 3D renderings of some buildings, while others remain flat. Thus, in Parallax, we have the illusion of a landscape/cityscape that is utterly changed, or at least caught up in an event that will cause it to be so.
Simultaneously, overhead, a vast disk slowly rotates. This disk is a star map of the Southern Hemisphere, but tilted and foreshortened to an extreme degree, conveying the illusion of endless space. As they rotate, the lines that show the different constellations such as Centaurus and Orion at times become foreshortened, which concentrates the light in a pattern that evokes flying vessels, search lights and satellites.
All this is seen from the embrace of a rocky outcrop or cave mouth, invoking also the fact that this territory is home to the Cradle of Humankind: the origin of all humanity. In support of this, other objects and events occur (and recur) to construct a subtle narrative that plays out within this eerie vista. A figure appears that has a multitude of eyes embedded all over her body, and just as multiple viewpoints can explode a set of data, she dissolves in what seems like a digital/numeric diaspora. The concept of the creation of a history and an understanding of its evolution emerges in the overlay of moving silhouettes, the hands of a weaver at the loom, and of industrial and animal life. All this unfolds against a soundtrack that contains elements of construction and of destruction, magic and celestial incantation.
From a recent review:
“Parallax, a video artwork, sees the apotheosis of this confluence between this mystical spiritual dimension and the urban contemporary world as Vári overlays imagery derived from both realms. They are not competing worlds, they co-exist. One has the sense, especially in the context of her previous exhibition, that as the urban environment fluctuates and mutates and is subject to the forces of nature, it is to some degree an organic being, too.”
– Mary Corrigall, the Sunday Independent, February 7, 2010
Single-channel video installation
Video and stereo audio 3′ 00″