IAN WIECZOREK - Visual Artist


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Everything That Rises

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Everything That Rises Must Converge

Audio/video installation
Part of
FIND Art Project 2014, a series of temporary public artworks/installations/events in the town of Castlebar (Co Mayo, Ireland) curated/mentored by Alice Maher and Aideen Barry in association with Mayo County Council and the Linenhall Arts Centre

The video/audio installation Everything That Rises Must Converge presents what appears to be a disembodied, regenerating flame, but is in fact footage of a torrent of water. The imagery transcends its physical source and becomes its opposite: water turns to fire in a trompe l’oeil visual/aural 'alchemical' transformation, acknowledging Mario Costa's proposal that new technologies are creating conditions for a new kind of expression of the Sublime

Location: projected out through a window from inside the Linenhall Arts Centre, at the end of a public passageway linking to the Foyer of the Linenhall. Coordinates: 53°51'28.9"N 9°17'50.4"W (53.858025, -9.297330)

The title Everything That Rises Must Converge is by way of French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his concept that everything in the universe is in a state of evolution towards a maximum level of consciousness, the ‘Omega Point’.
An evocation of dynamic energy, the work’s location - a public access passageway off a main thoroughfare - added a dramatic spatial element to the work both visually and aurally, and also a transformed experience of a generally perceived ‘dead area’ for the passer by. The work was experienced from the street from sunset untill 11pm daily over a period of four weeks.

>> Link to excerprt of Video work
(external link to Vimeo)

>> Link to Video of work in situ
(external link to Vimeo)

Essay written to accompany the installation:

Everything That Rises Must Converge and some thoughts on the Sublime
by Ian Wieczorek


The Sublime is a term that describes phenomena beyond the knowable, and the sensory experience of awe/terror these forces or agencies evoke in the observer. Initially attributed to the experience of Nature in its grand immensity, the concept of the Sublime was crystallised in the writings of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, and became a spiritual touchstone for philosophers, writers, poets and artists from around the mid-18 Century, inspiring much of the subsequent Romantic Movement in Western culture, and still retains a relevance today.

The Sublime evokes a primal response beyond the rational, an experience of things beyond our control – a measuring up of the individual against the ungovernable, as opposed to the experience of Beauty, where there is an underlying sense of affinity, of approval, of complicity in the engagement – the Sublime does not offer compromise.

Implicit in the Sublime is a direct sensory engagement, offering a moment of clarity or epiphany that highlights the fragility of the human condition – that allows us an objectivity regarding our place in the order of things. Think, say, of the experience of a thunder storm and the recognition that we are in the presence of something greater than ourselves, or even, in a manmade context, a nuclear explosion that reveals briefly the implicit power in the fabric of matter.

With our ever-increasing relationship with – and dependence upon – technology, it may be argued that our experience of the Sublime has been eroded. The contemporary world of commodification and virtually-mediated presentation has distanced us from the direct experience of the Sublime. More and more, we look at the world – however extraordinary a particular experience might be – through the viewfinder of a phone or digital camera – more anxious to ‘capture’ than to allow full, open engagement. This idea of ‘capturing’ carries with it a sense of ownership and control, and the ability to re-invoke the phenomenon at will for ourselves or others. However, one of the characteristics of the Sublime is its immediacy – you are either in its presence or you are not. By literal definition it cannot be mediated – cannot be controlled, paused or experienced through an intermediating agency. We can record an impression of the Sublime, but not its true, 'terrible' (in the traditional sense) reality. This contemporary trend might be mirrored to some extent in theorist Guy Debord’s writings, in which he describes humanity as spectators dazzled into a passive existence, and also in the visual illusion proposed by Jean Baudrillard – in which, effectively, we can suspend disbelief simply by pressing PAUSE.

A further perceived erosion in the experience of the Sublime has come from the world of Science. Understanding of the physical world and its nuts and bolts has supplanted its inexplicability – even a nuclear explosion has a mathematical predictability/’modelability’ in technological terms our world has become more knowable. In a sense the world has, arguably, become less full of wonder.

Everything That Rises Must Converge is in part a modest attempt to reinstate some element of the Sublime as something that evokes a sense of awe. The work originated during a residency at Leeds University. The video footage is of a rushing torrent of water, recorded during a particularly dazzling orange sunset. However, by simply inverting this image, it assumes the appearance of a suspended, regenerating flame. Water into fire: a little piece of visual alchemy, if you will. The roar of water recorded as the soundtrack for the work is also suggestive of its elemental opposite, further reinforcing the illusion (with a certain implicit irony that this experience is itself mediated by technology.)

The work’s placement – situated off a main thoroughfare that is for most of the time a ‘dead area’ – presenting an unexpected, discovered moment of sensory disjunction. It is hoped this will offer pause for thought for the discovering viewer, and possibly even a moment of small wonder.

Ian Wieczorek, 2014



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