Site specific installation at Artspace, Richmond, Virginia, 2002
There’s Here is a contemplation of the here and now via a cartoonish depiction of the afterlife. Responding to the unique architectural space of Artspace, Carolyn Henne created an environment in which the visitor moves through hell and into the heavens but never actually enters earth.
Henne uses installation to slow and extend viewer interaction allowing for a time-released experience. Viewers/visitors can linger long enough to get to the point of responding to the piece almost peripherally, surrationally - as when one daydreams. This provides opportunities for ideas/feelings to perhaps sneak up or just be recognized.
To accommodate this Henne uses several strategies. She fabricates low-tech devices. The viewer has to spend little time marveling at the feat. One gets past that quickly but the image is still compelling. She also uses low-key interactive elements that change as the visitor moves through the space or sits down. Sitting allows a change of perspective; the viewer becomes less self-aware, and may spend more time in the space.
The installation occupied the two large galleries on the 1st and 2nd floors, the mezzanine and the opening in the ceiling of the 1st floor gallery and the floor of the 2nd floor gallery. The downstairs gallery is the “underworld” or “hell”, the upstairs is the “celestial vault“ or “heaven”, and “earth” is suspended between.
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