Most people whose mental digestion of the marvellous is quite robust will refuse to believe this account, and yet there must be a few whose hair has been stirred and whose hearts have beat an unusual tattoo at the sound of a ‘Something Inexplicable’ in the watches of the night. Our conclusion is that there are such things as spirits, and in believing, we tremble…
Not only; but also (2021)
Not only; but also is a web-based artwork by Sarah Gillett that takes us inside the body of a woman lying in the gardens of Rockingham Castle at night. The shape and folds of this fluid architectural cavity are defined by the contours of the dress she is wearing, as though this is a skin for a ghostly presence uncertain of its bodily limits. Go to https://hub.link/a9vLCfR to explore.
Trapped inside this space, our experience is internal. We can pay attention to how the floor flows over the grass underneath her, how the walls and ceiling stretch taut over her ribcage, how the material of this space bunches and creases under her weight, how our breath begins to sync with hers.
Inspired by the tradition of the Anatomical Venus, lifesize reclining beauties made of wax conceived as a way to teach anatomy in the 1780s, complete with removable organs, Not only; but also offers a different view of an interior world where memory and dreams reign. In place of organs are objects from Gillett’s collection of historical curios: a bronze Venus de Milo; a millefiori paperweight, a steel tuning fork for the note of A; a bronze sphinx…
These personal treasures have been transformed in scale and appearance through digital rendering. Scanned into 3D objects by artist Dave Farnham for reimagining online, Gillett then collaborated with artist Sam Mattacott who built the artwork in Mozilla Hubs, manipulating elements to create Gillett’s vision of a living reliquary, a place of fragments and resonance.
At the centre of Not only; but also is the outline of a meteorite stone circle, a recurring presence across Gillett’s body of work commissioned by Fermynwoods Contemporary Art (see her sister Minecraft world Many hands make lightwork and a large drawing for the exhibition The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle).
Included within the original soundtrack created by Gillett, is a hymn, Open My Eyes, That I May See, written by Clara H. Scott in 1895. This hymn usually opened the seances held in Rockingham in the 1930s. Gillett has rewritten the lyrics to reflect the importance of the senses in these sessions.
How to enjoy
Not only; but also
You can enjoy this online artwork on your desktop computer or smartphone, as long as you are connected to the internet. Just click the link https://hub.link/a9vLCfR.
Not only; but also supports any mixed reality headset so if you have access to any VR hardware (for example, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, a Daydream or cardboard viewer) then this will give you a more immersive experience.
On desktop use your arrow keys to move around or:
W = forward
A = left
D = right
You can also press your right mouse button to teleport to a different location, rotate your view using the Q and E keys, or hold down your left mouse button and drag. For VR and mobile controls see this list of Hubs controls.
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