Copyright © Natalie LeBlanc 2020 all rights reserved.

Surfacing Fears is an installation in which a piece of thin, gauzy material is draped delicately over a white boat in a small dark room. A ghostly tv monitor, displaying a video loop of the ocean caught from the side of a moving ship can be seen from inside the boat and underneath the fabric. The fast-paced current and the severity of the angle, however, make the image difficult to watch for more than a few seconds. The discomfort in the viewing experience is compounded by an audio track playing a loud assemblage of stories — a compilation of interviews for which ten people were asked to share their most pressing fears, phobias and anxieties.

In comparison to the rapidly churning sea and to a long list of uncertainties that permeate the room, the small boat appears quite fragile and perishable. Both the fabric and the boat offer very little solace for the chaos that dominates the viewing experience. Does the installation cause you to look away? Alternately, does it cause you to endure? — Provoking your own fears to surface? In any case, shall the current become too difficult to watch or the stories too difficult to hear, you are invited to perceive the installation as nothing more than a surreal scene from a subconscious world — an invitation to re-direct your gaze to the floor and to your feet — which are (reassuringly) on solid ground.

Surfacing Fears (2005)

Wood, Fabric, TV, Video/Audio Montage.