Joy Episalla 'Dreams and Ghosts"
March 1st - April 7th, 2012
Joy Episalla works within the interstices of photography, video and sculpture. She is interested in the mutability of
still and moving images as they play out through time, and in the manipulation of spatial volume, while engaging a
queer/feminist perspective. The title of the exhibition comes from the title of a book found in Freud's library in
I work from observation. I focus on the mass of information that ordinary moments, places and
objects can provide. Like a forensic examiner, studying the cracks and stains inscribed on the
surface, I try to illuminate the secrets of different histories, through the evidence and residue left
behind. I am interested in the sculptural possibilities of photography and video. Central to this is what
I think of as the concept of 'intervening spaceIntervening space' fuses time and volume, in a
sculptural sense, with the use of photographic and filmic modalities.
The TV series consists of photographs of the rooms where I have stayed when traveling. With the TV
turned off, the room or site reflected becomes the screen content. The reflected image of the hotel
room, layered with the invisible residue of others, becomes a representation of intimacy in a place
where one is a stranger. A diary, of sorts, of placeless places. The photograph is taken just before
checking out— not staged or re-arranged, but the room left exactly as it is. I am interested in the idea
that the reflection in the dark TV screen is analogous to the receptive film plane of the camera. If
television embodies the hegemonic reach of the corporation into our private lives, then I see my TV
series as a small act of resistance and defiance-- by insisting on my own content and recording it.
I have been photographing people's bookcases for several years; it is a hybrid of portraiture and stilllife.
A series of photographs that evolved out of this work were shot in Freud's study in London.
There is another layer that accrues to the portrait(s) in this case, given that Freud was the founder of
psychoanalysis--the attendant weight and dust of cultural history come in to play.
The blur / motion / trans project and the accompanying video are based around an on-going sculpture
I have been adding to since 1992. In the early '90s I had lost many friends to AIDS, and within this
experience of loss I found myself holding on to my hair— I started to collect my hair as it came out as
I brushed it. I have been crocheting the hair into a sculpture which has grown taller and taller over the
years. In blur / motion / trans I have re-appropriated my hair by wearing this hairy prothesis /
appendage / witch's hat / dunce cap object and recording myself in motion. I am interested in the idea
of dreaming as a working method and used the camera's self timer to facilitate working in a kind of
blind, performative way. Metamorphic mirroring, doubling and ghosting occur: from troll to hag to
witch to siren to trickster to doppelganger. I am acting as both performer and recorder, object and
subject—trying to catch the intervening space of motion trails, accessing and depicting the partly
conscious, partly unconscious gestures.