Recall film invokes memories stored in fragments of aged objects collected and investigated by the artist. Kubisa uses a confocal laser microscope to extract the artwork from an objects' fragment, looking for florescence absorbed over time. The film triggers the viewers' memory and experiences which is released through the artworks, film scenes, film archives and sound. The investigation is both historic and personal ranging from 1545 to 20th century.
“Each sample has an inherent memory that my ‘stolen’ fragment contains. This memory is still contained in its physical structure and worn influences of time. Those fragments, touched by the original owner, have absorbed their own story ready to be released through these processes…......” - Seran Kubisa
44 minute film
Recall is a multi media film with
microscopic experiments, sound collaboration, photography and film
6x4 screen projection forms a
wrap around the architecture
Recalls' content is from 'Treasure Island: A Forensic Investigation of a City' with some investigations from linked archives across the U.K. A vast forensic investigation resulting in a multi-media film designed for architectural
projections and cinema
75 Microscopic colour treated structures from the investigations fragments
A tremendous piece of work created
from a decade of research,
investigations, experiments, public participation, historian participation and museums collections. With film and sound sequences that re-examine the objects living journey
Recall by Peter Vaspe
Recall is the first film by the artist Seran Kubisa, who since 2002 has been creating works inspired by object memories and heritage. Kubisa’s work embraces both art and science and takes as its subject matter the experiences of the individual and the concerns of wider society. These are qualities she has brought to the large-scale public art project based in Portsmouth she has been engaged in since 2006 called Treasure Island: A Forensic Investigation of a City. While one of her longest investigations concentrated on the city of Portsmouth which contributes some unique features and elements to the film the dominant themes running through it are: memory, heritage, history and, by default, time, which connects to many of our current preoccupations.
The treasures that Kubisa searches for in her investigations bear witness to the memories she believes to be embedded within the fragments or samples she has taken from her chosen objects. In sympathy with the new physics Kubisa recognises that the world visible to the naked eye is something of an illusion, that the apparently inanimate can absorb and store energy. From a different perspective the writer Ian Sinclair comes to a similar conclusion, believing that the buildings and stones of old cities bear the psychic traces of the generations that have passed through them.
Aesthetically there seems to be a correspondence with the Japanese concept of sabi (literally rust), when the life of an object only becomes revealed in the patina brought about through wear and tear, the passing of time revealing the essence of objects, thus embodying the link between art and nature. It also reminds us in our youth obsessed culture of the beauty and serenity that can be bestowed by age. In the following passages, Kubisa explains Recall in her own words:
Seran Kubisa (SK): It has been my quest to locate and find aged artefacts since I discovered that older fragments from objects contained fluorescence and when analysed with a Confocal laser Microscope produced stunning images – a connection I had discovered in 2002 when Artist in Residence at the School of Biological Sciences at Southampton University. In each experiment I set the lasers and lenses with awareness of the object’s story contained in the fragment. This information about the object is also reflected when selecting the colour and compositional value. I am using this state of the art science equipment as my artist tool and as a colourist selecting the laser settings is similar to choosing colour in my fine art practice.
The project’s website contains an archive that can be viewed by the general public, where the artwork is linked to a photograph of the object’s donor, the object, and a record card, with, among other details, a brief history and where it is currently located. The archive now contains over two hundred such records.
SK: Each sample has an inherent memory that my ‘stolen’ fragment contains. This memory is still contained in its physical structure and worn influences of time. Those fragments, touched by the original owner, have absorbed their own story ready to be released through these processes. The investigation itself unpick’s the object’s story and journey from the past to present with information collected from the historian and contributor when the fragment is taken. Some of the objects were investigated from different locations but had a shared history, i.e. Lady Hamilton’s Dress Hem, Lord Nelson’s Hair and the HMS Victory Flag. These items from the same time frame inspired passages and sequences in the film.
The artworks created from the fragments are the core of Recall, onto which Kubisa has, through skilful editing imposed a narrative using film from documentary archives and a commissioned original score composed by Stephen Tait and Robert Fage. This has given it a vitality and directness – a sense of the fluidity of time: of how the past connects with the present.
SK: Architectural projections of (the) artworks using a 15000ansi projector are an intrinsic part of (the) Public Art work. The projection wraps itself around the architecture creating a powerful medium to pull the viewer into this underlying world of structure and colour, exposing incredible detail of the artworks. The projection film becomes a part of the heritage building as if the collective memories and echoes of the past are seeping through its layers.
‘Recall’ shares my deep connectivity to the object’s life and meaning, felt and understood on a human emotional level, I have taken fragments from objects and unlocked their essence to connect with the resonance of those histories and human experiences that are embroiled within it. ‘Recall’ allows a journey of connectivity back to these experiences and takes you through moments in time.”
Kubisa, who trained as a fine artist, has not used the medium of film as a form of surrogate painting but has performed the formidable task of metamorphosing the images born from her training into one. In his memoir Sculpting in Time the late Andrey Tarkovsky, wrote that… the cinema image is essentially the observation of a phenomenon passing through time…for the first time in the history of the arts, in the history of culture man, found the means to take an impression of time…and simultaneously the possibility of reproducing that time on screen.
Time and memory merge into one another; they are like two sides of a medal. It is obvious that without time, memory cannot exist either. But memory is something so complex that no list of all its attributes could define the totality of the impressions through which it affects us.