Ellen Kane

Meath based artist, Ellen Kane, has been exploring the potential of virtual mediums in art making for the past two years. Her work mostly manifests itself as video pieces, dealing with mental illness, dissociation, and one’s experience of reality. The experimental use of VR equipment in the art making process, and incorporation of virtual spaces allows her to express the disconnected experiences of dissociation. Kane immerses the viewer in her work through video installation and interactive virtual spaces. This allows the viewer to empathize with the work and feel the feelings of frustration, disorientation, and blurriness that is put out by the artist.

Dissociative Experiences

Dissociative Experiences is a video installation work that is an expression of my own experience of dissociation. The viewer is met with a cluster of screens in a dark space, which they invited to approach and position themselves in front of. The mess of screens, wires, and moving imagery is overwhelming at first, but the intention is for the viewer to settle into the space and allow the media to wash over them. This layout refers to the over-consumption of media that most of us take part in on a daily basis, but to me it is particularly linked with the idea of it being a coping mechanism. Often when our mental state wavers, we immerse ourselves in different forms of media as a method of escaping reality. The dark side of this is that it generally leads to further dissociation and detachment from our surroundings. I hope to convey this through the uneasiness of the footage that I have captured and edited together and the intimidating setup of screens. My goal for this work is for the viewer to feel a sense of being encapsulated, frustrated, and disconnected which are emotions that I feel when going through a dissociative episode. Each video is in some way an iteration of my experience. For some of the pieces, a VR headset and a 360 camera is used to record the videos, simulating the first-person viewpoint within a setting. Viewing spaces within VR gives the viewer the ability to look around a space freely. Through the process of recording the viewpoint from within the VR space, the control is taken away from the viewer. This lack of control is important in the work when talking about dissociation. In other videos I have tried to replicate a visual experience of this disorder. In these pieces I try to convey the frustration through the editing of the footage, freezing of the video, blurriness, and overlaying of imagery. The experience is also accounted for through text and speech, using words and phrases that I would use to describe particular sensations and experiences of dissociation. The use of language engages the viewer further into the work as acts as a kind of personal account with which they can empathize.