Transcendence in Caroline Doolin’s Fault Bound Bodies

Photo courtesy of: Ros Kavanagh
by Viktoria Mladenovski

The Project Arts Centre in Dublin hosted Caroline Doolin’s video installation Fault Bound Bodies from the 10th February to the 8th April.

I haven’t heard about the Project Arts Centre, neither about this show when I visited Dublin. I (luckily!) stumbled upon the gallery while I was on my way to get lunch.

When I came into the gallery room, it felt like a somewhat mysterious living room because of the structure that surrounded the room which consisted of two interconnecting round walls. The exhibition comprised one HD video accompanied by surround sound through six boxes around the visitor benches, which made it easy to be submerged by the video. The video itself consists of a 3D animation depicting our earth and the space outside earth, obliterating human beings. It, therefore, allows the viewer to feel that they transcend physicality while watching the video. Another factor that disconnects humans from this video is the calming but uncannily disconcerting computer voice narrator (altering between a female and male voice) accompanying the video. The voice announces that ‘we’ are ‘crust dwellers’ in a somewhat mocking way, and I see the ‘we’ as in we as humans even though the voice does not sound like a human voice.

Watching this video gave me the feeling of being so tiny as a human being since everything surrounding us is so much bigger with more importance than our mundane problems on earth. The first part of the video that I saw was showing a volcano and a mountain (very likely another volcano). As I found out later, the video is a love story between two volcanic sites, showing the interaction between body, material, and energy outside of human perceived values about what love can consist of.[1]

The themes birth and death are heavily in focus in the video. The emphasis, as I interpret it, lies on how everything was one consciousness at the beginning (birth) and then broke down into multiple entities, separating, without being conscious that everything was one at the start, ultimately resulting in death. It, therefore, seems to touch on the concept of Non-Duality. The video could be said to try and bring humans closer to this non-duality and non-physicality by letting them be absorbed by the sound and video installation.

At the end of the video, it feels like we are in space, with a black landscape and a bright grid. The music was a nice surprise to me, distorted and unrecognizable at first, it turned out that it’s Roy Orbison’s In Dreams.[2] The song gave me this feeling of wakefulness after a full immersion into the video.

Caroline Doolin developed the idea for Fault Bound Bodies during her residency in Portrane (Dublin) which lies close to the inactive volcano of Lambay Island. Doolin focuses on the energy that occurs through the earth’s heat and the way our continents developed through the creation and disintegration of Pangea.

I would suggest looking at Doolin’s website if you want to find more of her work which all evolves around geology and our place on earth.

[1] Projects Art Centre, Gallery Guide Fault Bound Bodies Caroline Doolin Projects Art Centre 10 February – 8 April 2017 (Dublin, 2017), p.4.

[2] Roy Orbison, In Dreams, Monument Records, 1963.

Video courtesy of: Project Arts Centre

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