Epitaph For An Ephemerist

Epitaph for an Ephemerist
Epitaph for an Ephemerist video installation in the memorial wall of St Peter’s Church, Brighton. Photograph: Tony Tree.
Caption

St Peter’s Church, Brighton, 10 June 1999

Epitaph for an Ephemerist was an interactive video installation, with sound by Lewis Williams. It was a digital memorial in light and time. The church provided a reverent space and a traditional context in which to experience the work. The piece included a moving image of female hands projected at a monumental scale into an empty alcove high above visitors’ heads. The hands were mysteriously involved in the slow, useless activity of holding water. This reflected a vain attempt to secure something fleeting.

Susan Diab, an art practitioner who visited the event, wrote:

“Niobe wept on a wall inside St Peter’s Church and I was reminded of the constant presence of the divine part of our lives. An image of hands, wringing themselves incessantly and gently, slowly, dripping, drops of water, molten stone, tears, evaporating before they hit the ground. Like alabaster carvings come to life in a church alcove that must have been installed just for them, they hovered above and beyond us, merging in three dimensions into the space outside the wall.”

Visitors were encouraged to kneel on an interactive hassock which triggered (through a pressure sensitive pad) the speaking of personal stories recorded via a telephone. Light shone from beneath the pews, revealing scattered paper depicting images of miniature hands which referenced images of Byzantine icons. These resembled littered traces of previous human presence. Kneeling on the hassock, visitors were able to look at photo albums containing photographs of a book called Memory Mantra.

A graduation piece to conclude the Multimedia Digital Arts course, with expenses and materials funded by Lighthouse
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