Transmigration – a multi-media installation by P Segal
In “Transmigration,” New York City photographic artist, SuZen, combines multi-media, moving images of the natural world in a looping installation that represents Buddhism’s concept of the realms of consciousness. Two synchronized projectors cast images onto hanging layers of diaphanous fabric. The multiple layers of the sheer gauze create a holographic effect in which the viewers enter and are transported into ever-changing images and sounds of the ethereal worlds of the biosphere.
Transmigration begins with a bang, symbolic of the beginning of life on earth, and then fades to light. Images of the beginnings of consciousness take the viewers to the dark lower realms, where schools of sardines and jellyfish travel; a single stingray swims alone towards liberation from the lower realms and into bird form; the images encapsulate the essence of evolution and transmigration, the passage of the spirit, after death, into another body. Birds fly up and into the distance, replaced by Monarch butterflies, symbolic of transformation. The turtle appears, as he does in Buddhist teachings, as the symbol of human good fortune. The turtle represents transition, a creature at home on land and water. In the sly humor of Buddhist teachings, the turtle is a frequent character. Buddha asked, “What is the possibility for a blind turtle to raise up in a golden yoke every 100,000 years?” The answer: “Very rarely.” As the daylight footage fades to twilight and darkness, images of lightning and the sounds of thunder bring the 5 minute long loop again to the big bang.
The flowing images of nature in Transmigration, projected onto the overlapping layers of gauze, escape the two-dimensionality of images on film, taking on the multi-dimensional fullness of the teeming, and ever-changing elements of the natural world. The gauze itself changes the viewer’s perception of the images, as it moves, almost weightlessly, in the air currents, drafts, or human movement in its space. The immersive quality of the installation pushes the boundaries of photography and surrounds the viewer with the sounds of nature it presents. Transmigration is the most recent installation of SuZen's LightVisions series.
SuZen shot the footage for this installation at Coney Island, Brooklyn and various sites in California. Over the years, she has received numerous grants for her work from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries.