Concerning these events I find the short note: “depth of space seems to contract, atmospheric sensations occur: vapour, an opaque [words illegible] in the air. City and interior – city and open air are entwined. Figure and ground are indistinguishable” .
A Fog presents a body of works including the video installation grey sky blue, a series of Iris prints, a guidebook, and a set of aquatint etchings.
The body of work raises questions about the coding of our visual environment and the perception of space. Croft’s interest lies in the parallels between the dematerialization of design and architecture into atmospheric affects, and the manipulation of supposedly natural elements such as clouds and the weather. The works explore forms of indistincton, blurriness, and ambiguity and through a constellation of elements, A Fog presents two parallel operations. It interrogates the conditions needed to perceive and locate oneself within the spatial depths of reality, representation, and virtuality. It investigates how transparency and obscurity are interdependent modes of address used to manipulate information, comprehension, and judgments of sincerity.
The central element is grey sky blue, a video installation shot in high definition. The looped video shows a female character moving through mirrored monochromatic corridors, stairways, and lounges. She walks from front to back, left to right, back to front, continuously entering and leaving the frame. Her presence is expressionless and she shares no emotional directives –these could be merely the test shots. Light experiments activate the camera lens. Interlaced into these sequences are shots of cloudscapes: clouds detached from any distinguishing space, moving with a range of contrast, direction and speed.
grey sky blue uses the qualities of digital video and stereo sound to create audiovisual planes that are sequenced into a virtual architecture made of atmospheric affects. The elements in the video (the figure, the hotel setting, the soundscape, the coloured spotlight, the clouds), as well as the hardware used for its capture and display (camera lens, projection screen, projector lamp), shift between narrative subject and spatial signification. Contexts are subjects; backgrounds shift to foregrounds; material facts suspend perspectival relationships; architecture, atmosphere and psyche are interchangeable.
The sound of grey sky blue is audible throughout the exhibition space: footsteps on arid land, wind catching in palm trees, goats foraging on mountainsides, and dry branches scratching on rocks. These ephemeral sounds conjure up vivid scenes from another landscape and move in waves through the exhibition.
grey sky blue is augmented by a series of Iris prints of a horizon line partially concealed in foggy colour. The title of the series METAR GMMX 28010KT 9999 SCT100 SCT200 29/12 Q1017 NOSIG comes from the METAR report (an international format for communicating weather information) produced at the site and time the photographs were taken. The ambient softness of the images engages the viewer to scan the work for cues of similarity and repetition – blurry cognition rather than identification of discrete detail.
The guide A Fog composed by the artist for the exhibition offers the viewer a pathway through the works. Short-hand notes, reported speech, and first hand observations made by a group of individuals reporting on their shifting perceptions of a room and its ambience form the guide’s textual core, a structure borrowed from Walter Benjamin’s ‘On Hashish’ (pub.1972). The textual fragments are interspersed with etchings of rock formations captured in various levels of focus.
These distinct elements –the video, the stereo sound, the series of photographs, the guide– are embedded in the exhibition around a freestanding two wall construction which functions concurrently as a projection surface and as a masking wall interrupting sight-lines; it provides shadow and acts as an orientating central axis for the space.