A scene in ‘When Did You Last Stop Seeing Things?’, an episode of the television series ‘Randall and Hopkirk Deceased’ from the late 1960s, takes place in a psychiatrist’s office. A revolving black and white disk used to hypnotise patients, is hijacked by the ghostly private investigator Hopkirk to reprogramme their future actions for the common good. After a series of mysterious complications, it all comes right in the end.
The gallery visitor, bus stop queuer and passersby in central Newcastle’s Newbridge Street West have first sight of Sabine Sallis’s solo commission of new work for the NewBridge Project Space via ‘Unfolding Resolution’ (2015), a large, motorised disk turning in the window of the former office building. The drawings on the disk suggest both playful biomorphic forms and Rudolf Laban’s body kinesphere. They encourage entry to Sallis’ exhibition, The Source of Resilience, where the imaginative revolving continues. A dark twin to the streetdisk is discovered rotating back to back with the first, seeming to speak of myths from another time that tempt translation.
The Source of Resilience is part of a year long project that involved residencies for the artist at Scotswood Community Garden and Abundant Earth Farm, and its works connect with ideas of seasonal rhythms and of the persistence and flexibility of people making
sense of and being part of their surroundings. Across the space, ‘Haptic Universe’ (2015), a revolving looped projection of segmented images, sensually draws together thoughts of the body in the world. Hands reach out to, or are drawn to, individual apples on a tree, and dance choreographed gestures of creation myths, desire, need and resistance.
Spiralling off via detours and shortcuts to view smaller light box works, their collaged backlit transparencies and projections are microworlds that can also be viewed from Joe Sallis’ ‘Locus of Pleasure’ bench. The wedge shaped light boxes themselves resemble
field ridges and furrows, and the images, such as Infected Symbionts and Ephemeral Strategies reference Sallis’ hypothesis of a fictitious infectious agent that could be a source of resilience and agency in the world. The rhizomatic routes through the exhibition
are perhaps most clear in Sallis’ film, ‘The Other We,’ which allows encounters with the multilayered concerns of the main exhibition space. Here the artist’s drawings, her recordings of people engaged with the land and the differing scales of myth and narrative all entwine. While ‘Unfolding Resolution’ at first appeared to be the beginning of The Source of Resilience, it now becomes apparent that all Sallis’ works form a turning world with no centre or edges, no beginning or end, a new way of seeing things.
‘Here, we are in the presence of a circle that leads one to postulate the necessity of founding an “ecosophy” that would link environmental ecology to social ecology and tomental ecology’ (Guattari, 1996: 264).
Annie O’Donnell is an artist based in Teesside.
Images courtesy the artist and The Newbridge Project, 2015.
The Source of Resilience, The Newbridge Project, Newcastle upon Tyne
21 February – 28 March 2015
Ref: Guattari, F. (1996) ‘Remaking Social Practices’ in Genosko, G.(ed.) (1996) The Guattari Reader, Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 262273