Exploring Photographic Processes and Emotional Landscapes
editions of liminality

On Skin and Surfaces, September 2023

Skin, in its varied and complex layers, serves as both an interface and a boundary, shielding our internal state while communicating our external identities. It is our most expansive organ, a living canvas that holds traces of our vulnerabilities and engagements with the world.

My work explores the skin of things—both tangible and intangible. From the materiality of photographic negatives to the layers of being, I examine these skins as landscapes of protection and exposure. These surfaces are imbued with stories, secrets, and code, like the pigments of skin that carry their own imprints.

In the realm of photography, the notion of skin extends beyond the organic. It encompasses the material layers of film, the textured grains that capture light and create dark; tactile surfaces that either hide or reveal. In my forays into the color darkroom, a place absent of sight but rich in perception, I see parallels to the lived experience of my father's blindness. Or I don’t see. The experience of navigating through sensory cues rather than visual impressions, of creating in the dark to bring forth light, and often red, is profound.

Ocean and Skins, September 2023

Behold The Ocean explores the act of perceiving, experiencing, and understanding vast and intricate systems—both in the natural world and in the domain of human knowledge. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Chilean Antarctic region, the project weaves together narratives of vulnerability, scientific discovery, and survival. It not only recounts my own journey as an artist aboard research expeditions but also delves into the existential questions around ocean acidification and the degradation of our planet's largest organism.

Much like the skin serves as a protective yet fragile barrier for the human body, the ocean is Earth's largest organ, vital but vulnerable. Just as the skin reveals its age, its history, its wounds, and its stories, so too does the ocean. The melting glaciers are akin to shedding skin, revealing their hues, their age, their scars. Behold The Ocean can be viewed as an exploration of 'skins,' both as literal surfaces and metaphorical interfaces.

It's an extension of the larger tapestry of my work, where skin is an undercurrent.

In analog photography, negatives are skins: layers of materiality that holds the latent images, waiting to be developed and fixed to reveal its truths, much like the data collected during the expeditions aimed to decode the ocean’s current state. That’s a line of thought about how Behold The Ocean is not merely a standalone work but becomes an integral thread in the fabric of my practice.

© 2024 Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah

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