Everything Is Fleeing To Its Presence
Kathleen Herbert, 2019
Binaural Sound and Video installation, Duration 15 mins
Everything is Fleeing to its Presence is a binaural sound and video installation exploring visibility through the socio-political narratives of the colour Prussian Blue. The piece has developed from a residency Herbert conducted at The Beaney House Of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury in 2017 and was exhibited at the New York Public Library as part of Anna Atkins Refracted: Contemporary Works.
Part poem, part documentary, part autobiography, the narration of Everything Fleeing to its Presence, developed through Herbert’s research, explores the biological and cultural histories of this pigment through metaphors of visibility and light. In this narrative, Herbert recognises private colour perception as well as more public scientific observations of Prussian Blue and its properties. Intertwined with interviews with a chemist and the artist’s response to handling what is now regarded as the first photographic book, Cyanotype Impressions (1843), is a more personal narrative of loss. The visuals of the film are a set of photograms on slides. Using the cyanotype process and exposing the paper for varying durations, the photograms are a series of empty tonal voids of Prussian Blue which appear and disappear whilst the narration unfolds.
Sound Design: Mike Winship