More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayersoil and collage on panel81 x 123 cm
Nothing is foreverdigital print on Perspex56 x 60 cm 1/3
Your natural charm will attract someone specialoil and mixed media on panel89 x 124 cm
Ugly girl hand creamdigital print on Perspex51 x 54 cm 1/3
A body without a soul dreaming a soul without a bodydigital print on Perspex42 x 57 cm 1/3
Dreams are the children of an idle mindoil and collage on panel72 x 124 cm
Heaven helps those who help themselves Ioil on panel123 x 80 cm
Heaven helps those who help themselves IIoil on panel123 x 80 cm
The wall of heaven where the bad but not very bad are kept in temporary discomfortdigital print on Perspex133 x 63 cm
Pushy passionoil and collage on panel120 x 120 cm
It is impossible to eat with disgust and pleasure at the same timeoil on panel160 x 122 cm
Welcome matdigital print on Perspex71 x 67 cm 1/3
Exhibition text by Mitchell Gilbert Messina
Beginning with Room 1, Room 2, Room 3, Room 4 and The flowers had the look of flowers that are looked at, where linear perspectives stretch rooms out like passages and walls are lined with paintings: some alluding to images not yet seen, others referencing familiar works from Gitte Möller's Ugly Girl Hand Cream.
Thinking about the archive, then thinking better of it. Thinking about the memory palace instead: a visual system for recalling information, which requires creating spatial memories that can be inhabited and reordered by their creator. Often integrated with elaborative encoding, a separate mnemonic where new information is coded into older memories. Imagining all Möller’s paintings of interior spaces as scenes from a stranger’s memory palace, and the smaller familiar paintings as the elaborative encodings. Wondering about the function a memory palace serves in its down time: Its creator just lounging around in it, recreationally reworking the aesthetic relationships of their encodings, slowly getting lonely in the vast psychological space they built. Questioning whether the memory palace stores trauma under the floorboards or in locked rooms, and if it’s possible to have, but be unaware of, an entirely separate memory palace, repressed and cloaked by coping mechanisms.
Looking over Heaven helps those who help themselves I and II, and the two different views they present of a sparse tiled room housing a bodiless anime character with a mirror. Remembering a factoid about the rarity of mirrors in video games: that they require too much processing power to justify their existence. That the illusion requires the whole game environment be rendered a second time, only to reveal a sliver of it to the player. Most games bypass this conundrum by having the character not appear in reflective surfaces at all. Thinking that it must be strange to exist in a world that doesn’t have the capacity to show you to yourself.
Going back to the floating anime hair and wondering if someone could recognise themself without a body. Reading an article on the psychology of mirrors which at some point mentions out-of-body experiences. Recalling the optic strategies used by Quattrocento painters to produce these experiences. The trick of misaligning the actual and apparent point of view in a painting to produce conflicting visual information that would disorientate the viewer, producing the effect of viewing a scene from a position outside the physical body. Intended to make one feel as though they were floating towards the divine.
Imagining that the contemporary intention of stepping outside of one’s body is less about transcendence, and more about exiting subjecthood and dealing via dissociation. Wondering if a body’s ascension to heaven is pursued by the trauma it carried on earth. Getting back to the invisible figure in the painting and thinking about John Berger’s takedown of Hans Memling’s Vanity (1485); reflecting on whether the only way to avoid the male gaze and its moral condemnation is to make yourself unable to be seen, and be unable to see yourself. Revisiting a pirated version of Hito Steyerl’s How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File (2013), and thinking about how a physical body can be erased or hidden by digital processes.
Getting cynical about how we all thought we’d dis-identify in the digital and lose our bodies, but instead we’re stuck in a cycle of labour, maintaining and manicuring constructed identities. Remembering a conversation where a recently developed anxiety is centred around appearing in someone else’s dream and doing something terrible. Thinking that the scariest thing might be a rogue representation of the self outside the limits of one’s control.
Returning to invisible bodies via losing control and remembering a moment from 2002 where, 78 hours into playing Final Fantasy VIII (1999), the save file got corrupted. Attempting to start the game but always getting stuck on the last scene, with all the characters failing to load into it. The characters’ failure to manifest shifting the role of player to spectator of an empty scene. Wondering why Möller’s spatial paintings feel like this moment, spaces seemingly populated by a deliberate absence of bodies, particularly As helpless as meat on the table, More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers and Your natural charm will attract someone special. The latter, resembling the Hangar level in Doom (1993), leading to the question of whether game levels exist at all if the player isn’t occupying them - is something rendered if there’s no one around to see it?
Reading up on the possibility of unperceived existence, an old and ongoing philosophical query. Also reading forum posts on various game engines, learning that the existence of an unentered game level is entirely dependent on how the engine renders the world. Clearing up some confusion. Wondering what non-playable characters (NPCs) do in empty game levels. If they just sit in wait surrounded by spiked floors and lakes of acid and other booby traps, like in medieval depictions of hell where everyone seems like they’ve grown bored with eternal torment.
Having a crush on an NPC and returning to them often to see if they had something new to say. Even after the quest had been completed and the entire world saved from annihilation, the character continued to recite a prophecy that had already been fulfilled. Feeling protective over a character that’s unaware of being stuck in a loop. Wondering if things undergo imperceptible changes every time they are looked at or said, and recalling that a memory is distorted every instance it is recalled. Another loop: Scheduled confessions as a catholic teenager, always ending in the same penance - reciting as many Hail Mary’s as a rosary could contain. Re-thinking about the prayer in programming code, a loop statement calling a function in the event of crises.
Deciding to think for a little longer.
Mulling over: The extended effects Christian iconography and turn-based role playing games had on an adolescent brain: anime angels and demons feeding back a once familiar iconography as alien. The impact digital processes have had on transcendental ideas of the self: stolen souls in photographs uploaded to proprietary software. The impression linear perspective has left on spatial understandings: straight lines defining and containing rigid taxonomies. Finally, mulling over the influence potential textual mistranslations have had on orthodoxies that adhere to them without question - cathedrals built and destroyed in the name of an Ugly Girl Hand Cream.