Artist Rebecca Howard, CCA, 28 October – 18 November 2017.
During the 16 minute film which forms the central attraction of There Is No Visible Route to the Vanishing Point, the voiceover asks the audience to forget the purpose they came to the exhibition with. Taking that advice, and forgetting that I was meant to write a qmunicate review, I found myself increasingly drawn in by the abstract film. It is only once I try to express what exactly it was that I enjoyed, that I find myself unable to pinpoint anything specific to appreciate. I can only say that the exhibition is somewhat more than the sum of various fairly lacklustre parts.
Everything about this intermedia exhibition is vague. I was intrigued by the concept of a metaphysical exploration of sci-fi tropes, but I became frustrated when I realised that the description of the event contained no tangible details of what the experience would mean. The vagueness followed me into the studio which contained the film, hidden away by a black curtain. I came in halfway through a screening, and what I saw shed no light on what the film could possibly mean. I assumed that I had missed some crucial context in the first half, but upon a second viewing, the artist’s intention remained as opaque as when I first entered. It would be wrong to say that all art should have a meaning; but perhaps not all art should simply present a series of moving images accompanied by barely audible ASMR-like whispering for 16 minutes.
That said, the film excelled in the depiction of nature in all its sublime beauty through non-traditional means – I was taken aback by some oddly gorgeous shaky shots from inside a car on the motorway. It is unfortunate that the best pieces of the exhibition were not what it was billed as. I found no references to sci-fi other than some CGI objects floating on screen, or the use of the colour red which loosely reminded me of Akira. Though the exhibition was undeniably atmospheric, it ultimately failed to create the atmosphere it seemed to advertise. I was personally very happy to sit back and watch some beautiful shots of an insect scurrying across a rock, or listen to distorted noises akin to a heart beating or waves lapping on the shore. I only wish the artist had taken it less seriously.