November 27, 2018

Is there treachery in symbolism?

Swan Kemp, 20

Drawing from a discourse stimulated by Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”, and inspired by theatre practitioners such as Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett, this work aims to investigate the treachery of symbolism. To what degree do we rely on symbols? Is there a danger in semiotics? What does it mean to ‘understand’ an artistic utterance?
This new work presents a conflict between Sontag’s notions of “Representation” and “Subjective Expression” and attempts to resist literal interpretation. Drawing from personal narratives in an attempt to create one’s own symbolic vocabulary, this piece appeals to a viewer’s primal emotions – anxiety, fear, empathy – but isolates them from a contextual understanding of the ‘event’.

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“Atrophy”, 2018, (video: 3 minutes, 56 seconds), Dimensions Variable https://www.instagram.com/swan.kemp/