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The Sun From Your Past, 2016

spatial video work

single-channel colour video, projector, truck

LOUISE BENNETT

2 JULY 2016

THE SUN FROM YOUR PAST

Essay by Lisa Bryan-Brown

Operating at the intersection of the digital and the physical, Louise Bennett’s The Sun

From Your Past is a complex work that pushes the limits of light as medium. Essentially

an exercise in translation, Bennett’s understated installation is deceptively simple in its

presentation. Comprised of a beam of light thrown to the ground, streaming out from the

back of CLUTCH Collective’s truck-space, the moody installation relies on the

architecture of the truck doors for its form. A site-specific work created in direct

response to CLUTCH’s unique exhibition space, Bennett is the first artist in CLUTCH’s

program so far to have utilised the mobile nature of the vehicle, presenting her

installation in the very dark surrounds of Norman Buchan Park.

Moving around and through this work, the light source may not be immediately evident

to the viewer. Is it simply a light? Is the form of the work merely the beam itself, the

sculpture being the illuminated strip of ground and the subsequent shadows of the

truck doors? Upon investigation (if you deign to peer into the truck) it is revealed the

light source is a data projector. Flooding the internal space of the truck with video

footage, the beam that seeps out is a mere fragment of the whole.

The projected footage is of the sun shining brightly in the sky, imperceptible to the

viewer but implied through the installation’s title. Toying lightly with the notion of time,

The Sun From Your Past is modestly tongue-in-cheek in so far as all light is from the

past, taking time to move through space and arrive at its site of perception. Bennett’s

practice is overarchingly concerned with the mediation of day-to-day experiences, and

The Sun From Your Past picks up this thread by reminding viewers this is an instance of

sunlight they’ve each experienced previously, simply captured by Bennett from a

different location.

It is in the capture and re-presentation that the works complexity articulates itself.

Bennett isolates light as at once both the medium and message of the work. Captured

through a device, the light from the sun is translated to a lens flare presented on a

screen. Replaying that footage through a projector, again light is translated to a lens

flare, the screen footage turned back into physical light. Turning natural sunlight into

artificial digital light, Bennett poses questions about authenticity of experience, and the

way our contemporary experiences of nature are frequently mediated by screen-based

technologies. Appealingly reflexive in its materiality, The Sun From Your Past is a

conceptually rich work, sublime in its subtlety of form.