The Visual Ghost
AN INSIGHT - IXCHEL MENDOZA HERNÁNDEZ
I would like to start this insight by asking the same question that drove my passion and curiosity during the years: “WHAT WOULD A VISUAL GHOST BE?”
The idea of “Visual Ghost” came to me for the first time around 2010. At that time I was involved in an investigation for a piece I developed and performed, under the same name. Part of my research was the use of body postures in combination with sound. I was interested in the different ways you could combine these elements and by that, trigger different readings, sensations, or meanings.
During the following years, I made explorations using the body, sounds, and text in an attempt to provoke the audience to experience certain kinds of 'images' not present in vision. After a while, I became aware I was still engaging in the same investigation but had taken the idea further. This realization became the crucial turning point of my research. It not only led to the creation of the idea of “Visual Ghost” but as well made me reframe my investigations.
At the same time that I was trying to get deeper into the concept, I realized the idea started to become somehow ungraspable and complex. It seemed to me that the concept shifted to have no concrete definition, and my researches were a mere attempt to redefine it. The concept itself became a motor of ideas, ideas under notions of presence and absence. It seems to me that all my choreographic works are different attempts to evoke and make present the “Visual Ghost”.
WHAT “VISUAL GHOST” IS?
We live in a world that has material and visible elements as well as the immaterial and the invisible. For me, it is interesting to think about how these invisible elements come into presence? and as a result of which event? I believe certain circumstances make them “appear”, and help make them graspable. In the same way, Ghosts are not, but they appear and they become. Once they are there they disappear. They are, they do not last and at the same time, at the moment of appearance, they fill the space with their time and their presence. A ghost is present but not visible, is not materialized in matter but tangible even if only in sensations or thoughts. When I reflect on examples of this phenomenon in our daily life, I come upon quite different situations that seem to not have any direct connection. I still think of them under the same category.
The “Visual Ghost” corresponds to ideas that suddenly become apparent through our senses or by experiencing them, A kind of awareness or consciousness that materializes in sensations. Do the question and interest rely on what is provoking the experience? and in which manner it is provoked? This phenomenon happens between an event and a perceiver, and nothing comes into its presence as long as there is no “event” changing a situation for the perceiver.
I started to question the combination of the two words (Visual Ghost) and concluded that the word “visual” in this case responds to the idea of materialization or the graspability of what becomes present. Nevertheless, it does not mean that this graspability functions solely with images. It responds as well to sensations or even the sensation of an image. There are differences in the intensity of presence. Some “images” come from elements that we know and are visible in our daily life. Other elements that are not visible, become graspable to other senses.
In my understanding “Visual Ghost” is something that appears between an event and a spectator. There is a mutual exchange between the two. This exchange allows and opens up a space where the “Visual Ghost” is evoked and comes into presence, "materializing" in the space.
The "Visual Ghost" is manifold, and I find myself perpetually questioning it. As a consequence, it is always in transformation, or let's say evolving, making its nature ungraspable. Nevertheless, I depart from previous knowledge; this knowledge being the base, having a ghosty logic in itself. In my practice, I revisit the material re-appropriating it. Visual Ghost became a reverse concept. Instead of reducing different possibilities into one idea, it opened itself to be redefined by the various researches I elaborate on.