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Rachel Garrard / Precession

For this weekend's Kinetica Art Fair, the artist collaborated with Musion on a holographic sound installation

Watching the movement of the stars is what initially inspired Rachel Garrard’s latest performance ‘Precession’. A meditation on the passing of time, the creation of the world and also the symbolism behind year 2012, the artist has enlisted the help of London-based holographic company Musion to create a mesmerising installation encompassing holographic projection, body movement and sound.

For this project I have used true geometric proportions to create my own interpretations of the astronomical systems in the form of giant grids, on which I personally trace their rhythmic motion

The act of creating the universe, which was seen by many as ‘the dance of God’, is meticulously recreated to give way to a journey of self-discovery, as well as allow the viewer to - at least for a few minutes - feel closer to the source of life.

Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration with Kinetica Art Fair come about?
Rachel Garrard:
The director of Kinetica, Tony Langford, has been interested the handful of us artists working with holographic projection for a while and has tried to help promote holographic projection as an art form. I always find the Kinetica Art Fair really exciting as it’s a melting pot for the more experimental and obscure forms of art.

DD: ‘Precession’ is a performance about the passing of time on a cosmological scale as well as a meditation on the year 2012. How did you translate those ideas into movement and sound?
Rachel Garrard:
The galactic alignment of 2012 is obviously a big topic this year. There are a lot of crazy doomsday theories out there, which have pretty much hijacked any discussion of the symbolic nature of this year. But astrologically it is a very interesting time in our cosmic history.

The ‘Great Year’, a term which Plato used to describe the Precession of the Equinox, is the backwards motion of the equinox in relation to fixed stars caused by the earth slowly wobbling on its axis. This year, the winter solstice sun will be in direct alignment with the centre of the galaxy, an event which occurs roughly once every 12,000 years. The performance ‘Precession’ is based on the celestial geometry of this alignment and combines live performance with holographic projection.

DD: What started off the project?
Rachel Garrard:
Last year I spent some time at a telescope farm in the Atacama Desert in Chile – it is one of the best places on earth to stargaze. I spent a lot of time looking at the stars and meditating. After a while I felt like I could see sparks of energy running between each star, connecting it to the next. I got obsessed with recording the movement of the stars. In many respects, these movements can be seen as a grand celestial dance, adhering to an unseen symphony.

For this project I have used true geometric proportions to create my own interpretations of the astronomical systems in the form of giant grids, on which I personally trace their rhythmic motion. Personalising these movements is meant to imply our personal responsibility in the evolution of the cosmos as well as represent a journey towards some kind of self-realisation.

DD: What was it about holography as a medium that attracted you in the first place?
Rachel Garrard:
My initial fascination with holography came from reading about quantum physics and it’s relation to consciousness. I was introduced to the work of David Bohm and his analogy of the hologram to the implicate nature of reality, that each part of physical reality contains all the information of the whole. Another theorist, Karl Pribram, believes that the brain works in a similar manner to a hologram, storing information later to be projected on recollection.

I like the idea of making sculptures that have no material substance, work that is temporary and fleeting, perceived momentarily due to the specific angling of light. After some research I found Musion, a commercial holographic projection company that create three-dimensional projections in a stage setting. This meant that I could set up live performances interacting with the hologram.

DD: What else are you working on now?
Rachel Garrard:
I have quite a few projects planned for next year. One is a collaboration with a Romanian professor of Cymatics, which is the study of sound as it moves through matter. For this project I am planning to do a performance of a spontaneous singing technique taught by a shamanic tribe in South America, which is said to echo the act of creation. It will be combined with live projections of the geometric forms created via Cymatics. I am also working on a series of large-scale etchings on glass, which I will then project light through, so they will be a like drawings made out of light.

Rachel Garrard’s ‘Precession’ runs at KINETICA ART FAIR, Ambika P3 Marylebone Road, London from February 9-12, 2012