THE SPACE BETWEEN US
29 February – 17 March 2012
In The Space Between Us, Chris Bennett presents a selection from an ongoing body of work which explores different viewpoints and aspects of alienation, loneliness, and the breakdown of social communication; the complex and uncomfortable relationships between people, their environment, and each other. Bennett builds an artistic record of isolation and dislocation.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US
This exhibition is part of an ongoing body of work exploring the dehumanising quality of the city in Western culture, which in turn encourages a feeling of ennui in the individual. Specifically, it focuses on the way in which individuals become alienated from their environment, occupation, and each other, resulting in listlessness, torpor, and apathy. I endeavour to capture the vulnerability of the private moments where this alienation manifests, in the ordinary, banal aspects of everyday life; the encumbrances of routine, the loneliness, and powerlessness weigh on the individual – consciously or unconsciously.
The origin of this work comes from observation of the social interactions between people, particularly strangers, in Western cities. Our social structure and the physical infrastructure that supports it seems to be following a trend of increasing disconnection from physical and emotional contact with other individuals – a trend which is likely to increase with the adoption of voice recognition technology, automated systems, and the almost global use of social media. Our opportunities for human interaction unfiltered by any form of interface are decreasing, and the observable outcome is that individuals are becoming progressively more disconnected from one another. There is an ever widening space between us.
A key element of these works, and one that I have adhered to throughout my time at the Queensland College of Art, is one of the emotional over the intellectual. I felt that it was important for work depicting an emotional state to create a response or memory of the same emotional state in the observer, and many of the aesthetic and compositional choices of the works are a conscious move towards that end. The works aimed to create a sense of mono no aware, but instead of the gentle sadness of the transience of ephemera it is a sorrow at the loss of contact; of the decline of touch and engagement with one another.
In this way, the series of work hopes to be both a record of the ennui of our time – in a similar way to the record Duane Hansen or Edward Hopper created of theirs – and a collection of objects that calls to a sense of personal loss, loneliness, or longing in the observer.