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artandsciencejournal:

Eruptions of Audiovisual Illusions

Inspired by the societal influences volcanoes have on our lives, artist Joanie Lemercier created two projects “EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL” (2010) and “FUJI” (2014) using a combination of simple and complex audiovisual elements, playing with our depth of field and perception of the installation environment.

In both installations, the artist hand draws the wire-frame scenery to a wall, mimicking the topography of the respective volcanic landscapes. Stereoscopy and shading are used as the key elements which manipulate the audience’s perception of the image before them. The shadows created by the light projections give the illusion of depth within the ridges and points, even distance between mountains, aided by the fluid grid-lines and computer software. The artist himself describes this process as “modifying the perception of things…it is almost like modifying reality”. Lemercier “[plays] around with visual perception [to] trick the senses using optical illusions”, allowing the naturally flat surface and image to take on a three-dimensional forms.

Both examples of audiovisual mapping stem from events that have shaped certain societies, in small and large ways respectively; “EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL” was created in response to the eruption of the volcano in Iceland in 2010, which restricted travel in almost all of Europe. “FUJI” continues the artists’ exploration of volcanoes, this time Fujiyama in Japan, by incorporating elements of the legend of Kaguya Hime; a 10th-century folk-tale which the artist claims is “a key element in Japanese culture”.

Where the first installation focused on optical illusion and manipulation of audiovisual perception only, “FUJI” does the same, but with the added bonus of narrative. The projection becomes both optical illusion and poetry within its immersive environment.

-Anna Paluch

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