SelFish © Maria Paschalidou 2014
I am a visual artist, photographer and researcher working mainly with lens-based media, video performance, installation and interactive environments. My artwork incorporates conceptual strategies and methodologies. As a result of this process of theorizing, my creative projects are contextual and situational exploring issues of power and control and developing in the form of visual statements. Of particular concern are the institutionalization of daily life, the contemporary conceptualizations of the body as the field of both socio-political and emotional conflict, the power agents that mediate in the construction of identity and the systematic production of Otherness and invisibilities.
Far from being a documentary practitioner, I find myself in the position of the image-maker and visual storyteller. Believing that photography is not an objective recording medium, I wish to challenge its boundaries. Thus, against the ideology of the “candid” and mirror – image pictures that dominates the ‘post-photographic’ era, I array the dynamics of the photographic medium to produce visual metaphors for ‘reality’, which mainly question, critique, comment, rearrange and/or reconstruct it. What I found most challenging in the medium of photography is the possibility of associating fiction with reality. I also combine photography with digital imaging suggesting that a photograph is indeed “a window onto the world”; yet this world is of multiple possibilities and realities.
Through my art practice, I propose the blurring of the boundaries between ‘real’ and ‘unreal’, the space among fiction, image and narrative, by employing ‘visual’ metaphors, fabricated environments, ephemeral constructions and participatory installations. I conceive installation as a theatrical stage and as a performative act. Within the installation space, I suggest various ways of viewing and displaying of static and moving images as well as encourage audiences’ participation and their immediate responses towards the works of art. The outcome has become a systematic production of visual statements that combine aesthetics and fiction with issues of power and control. Fiction is always in the core of my artwork; most of my works – either being photographs, videos or interactive pieces – incorporate fictitious elements by means of multiple digital interventions, manipulations and transformations. Fiction is the tool with which I develop my concepts and my view of reality as a performative and transformative process always understood in fragments, pieces and tendencies. Fiction constitutes the library of my various translations of 'reality' and contains my artist's perceptions of history, culture, memory, geography, mobility and interruption.
Furthermore, I am particularly interested in investigating ways in which images, created using still photography, and moving image, can be combined as a mechanism in the performance of personal narratives. Believing in the dynamics of the trichotomy artist - artwork - audience, during the years I have developed different art practices to explore ways of actively involving audience in various stages of the art production. My research is focused on various orchestrated participatory conditions where personal and public narratives can be visually exposed in performative and interactive ways. Creating staged conditions of visual imagery and audience participation in this way can yield different kinds of knowledge.