The installation uses colours as organisational fields to reveal various dynamic topographies appearing in a group of people. The Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms (1923) by Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer are applied as a basis for interactive scenarios. According to the law, regular, orderly, symmetric and simple tend to command our experience.
During that same year 1923, German priest and missionary Martin Gusinde was documenting the Hain ritual in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. This initiation rite was carried out by Selkn`am tribe, soon to be extinct by european sheep farmers conquering their ancestral hunting grounds. In the remaining photographs, we can see the Selkn`am tribesmen adorned with a primitive bodypainting. The same geometric figurative style was simultaneously being adopted as a generative force of a new art form emerging in the western world, the abstract expressionism. It seems that the Hain ritual animated the gestalt laws, in order to transmit an age-old human knowledge to future generations, encoded in the abstract, ceremonial patterns. And as their way of life was annihilated, a new context for abstraction far away from their home began carrying on the tradition, as a container of perceptual information.
The installation proposes yet again a new context for these abstract, perceptual laws. In the installation random, messy, irregular and complicated forces disturb the principle of figural stability, illuminated directly on our bodies.
Hanna Haaslahti (1969) is a media and installation artist working and living in Helsinki. She explores structures and methods which connect individuals to communities. In her work, the balance between individual freedom and communal rules takes shape as interactive installations or photographic experiments. The basic elements of her minimalistic installations are light, shadow and interaction. She researches computer vision technology, generative and volumetric graphics in the development process of interactive spaces. She has graduated from Medialab, University of Art and Design Helsinki (2000).