The Abyss Also Gazes Into You With The “Onion Skin” Light Vortex
By Zach Sokol, Republished from the Creators Project
Do you know that sensation when you reflect one mirror into another and stare into the infinite abyss that is created? If you raise your hand, a million parallel hands wave back, piquing curiosity about what could exist beyond the surface.
Olivier Ratsi, visual artist and founder of art collective Antivj, has captured that odd, prickly feeling in his recent light installation “Onion Skin.” It’s unbearably difficult to witness this spectacle without feeling your brain turn and twist in that specific sense that’s equal parts frustrating and exhilarating.
Like looking into the intersection of two mirrors, “Onion Skin” requires that viewers stand between a module of two wall-sized screens positioned at right angles that display cornea-melting visuals made from classic 2D and 3D software programs.
The installation is a 14 minute experience set to 5.1 surround sound produced by ANTIVJ collaborator, Thomas Vaquié. Each visual element matches a particular sound, and they evolve together, thus forming a sound track. Ratsi told The Creators Project that this sound-visual-perspective symbiosis “must be considered an inseparable unit. It can’t be dissociated.”
Though the experience lasts for less than a quarter hour, time becomes a precarious dimension during the four part visual narrative and 14 minutes can feel like an eternity, or two.
Ratsi said the work is “about the possibility of a new universe through a game of perspectives, both of the exhibition space itself and that of the projection canvas. The piece plays on the principle of reptition and scale to create a physical and hypnotic experiences that opens doors towards a new dimension.”
The artist calls the anamorphosized geometric elements “peelings” because they seem to be flat at first, but start delimiting new space. “The illusion of a new dimension within the installation slowly appears as the onion skins seem to be leaving their physical surface behind,” says Ratsi.
“Onion Skin” was first presented last June and July in Oaxaca and Mexico City during a new media arts event called TAG-DF, but will soon be presented in Rio and potentially Paris in the upcoming year. It is Ratsi’s first solo project released by ANTIVJ, and is also the first stage in a series called the Echolyse Project, which will give birth to several variations around the same concept.
Get lost in the layers above, but don’t get too close to the screen — you may get sucked in. For more on the visual label ANTIVJ, see The Creators Project documentary on the European visual maestros below.