Master Media Design: Lens-Based

Ambient, Aberrant

Sonia Mangiapane
Major Master Media Design: Lens-Based
Year Graduation Project

Nominee Master Research Award 2020

My graduation project is a poetic exploration of the research that informs my thesis: wa/onderings: expanded notions of light, space + time in photomedia.

The conceptual framework of my graduation project (working title: Ambient, Aberrant) intertwines my interests in optical phenomena, journey and the landscape. In this work, I employ abstraction as a method to address the constructed nature of reality inherent in photomedia's apparatuses and processes and our culturally constructed concepts of nature and truth.

I use photomedia as a way to mediate my surroundings and experiences in the same way that users of the Claude Mirror— a pre-photographic optical device used by artists and tourists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and which I use as a metaphor for my own artistic methods—mediated their experience of the landscape.

Sometimes I place prisms, or other optical modifiers, in front of the lens during in-camera exposure, distorting, fragmenting and abstracting the view. Later, I will subject some of these images to a second iteration of mediation through ‘darkroom interventions’ extending the timespace of the image beyond the moment of in-camera exposure. I seek to expose the process and the constructed nature of image-making, while simultaneously allowing for poetic expression.

Photomedia can not only disguise but also highlight its own implicit failure to represent reality objectively. I seek to transcend this problem by acknowledging the fact that the representation of truth in photomedia is always subjective. My work is both sincere in its quest for authenticity and a secular, ungendered and contemporary sublime, yet ironic, knowing that my goals are ultimately unattainable.

Ambient, Aberrant remains a work in progress.

Artist's website

Graduation Thesis