Ha Na Lee
“The great function of poetry is to give us back the situations of our dreams.”
—Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space
Vestiges, Part II is an interactive and immersive video/sound installation, which turns the act of going up and down the stairs into a poetic and dynamic experience. I especially wanted to turn the stairs into a timeless space. The piece focuses on exploring the time domain in both the psychological and physical realms. By harnessing the genre of magic realism, the piece investigates moments of psychic revelation and transformation.
The visual imagery is composed of nonlinear, surreal dream sequences of a young woman that depict her insomnia and dysphoria in a unsettling twilight setting. Although the sequence does not appear logical at first glance, the visual narratives are designed to reveal the story through the slow pacing and multiple encounters. The piece focuses on stretching the duration of the experience by mapping the audience’s gestures to different aural/visual events.
The study of temporal and spatial memory, shared experiences, and narrative progression provide crucial structure to this thematic framework. The installation detects the audience’s presence and behavior to help compose the experience within the site. In doing so, the system creates different patterns of narrative sequences that project illusionistic, fantastical, and realistic stories in the staircase.
The dimensions of the staircase are 50 inches wide by 10 feet long. Four sensors are placed along the staircase, and a reed switch is installed on the door to detect when the door opens. The sensors are there to notice the presence of spectators in order to configure the narrative and trigger particular parts of the sonic elements. Three speakers are placed on the steps, and one speaker is positioned behind the main screen area to create an illusion of sonic distance. Three thin veils hang in the stairwell.
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I am interested in telling a fragmented narrative. This installation showcases the meaning of individual traumatic experiences and memories through objects and the environment. My interest in creating such a narrative is to explore the space where physical and psychological time meet. My earlier film and video work appears as sequential images in an unconventional narrative form and considers the intimate interactions and interrelationships between the protagonist’s body and various symbolic objects that reveal moments of psychic revelation and transformation. The objects themselves are intentionally evocative and in the tradition of genre and vanitas paintings. They explore themes of repression, resistance, submission, and resignation, as well as the meaning of power, melancholy, death, pain, and violence in the contemporary world.
In my current work, I focus on developing methods that represent the fluidity of time and space in a fragmented narrative. The installation form creates an immersive cinematic experience, and the individual’s bodily experience of time is brought about by his or her presence and encounters with the installation. I incorporate an interactive system that can map out an audience’s presence and behaviors to mold the story. Ultimately, my work creates resonance between the present and past by means of sonic, visual, architectural, sensory, and tactile experiences.
About Ha Na Lee
Ms. Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. She works primarily in the mediums of video, performance, installation art, and experimental film. Her artwork focuses on portraying an individual’s experience of psychological and physical trauma in a poetic narrative. She is especially interested in exploring these traumas by creating bodily and cinematic experiences and spatializing fragmented narratives in the form of interactive and immersive environments.
Ms. Lee’s work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions, and her films have been screened in the United States and internationally in South Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the Netherlands. She is a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Goldberger Graduate Research Fellowship at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, and others. She is currently a PhD candidate at DXARTS, the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media, and she lives and works in Seattle.