Crack in the Road

Douna Lim is studying a BA in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins and plans to continue her studies with a masters, maybe somewhere else, we’ll see.

I had a chat with Douna the other week at her studio in university.

JW:  Are these sculptures or images? (There is a little pill placed between the pages of an open book. The shape of the pill corresponds to the shapes on both patterned pages.) There’s lot of references to nature too; trees, bits of mountains.

DL:  Nature is an obvious starting point. It’s there to begin with, something to look at.

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Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place, Aerial view

JW: So you’re more concerned with how to look at something?  Or is the starting point of nature also important?

DL: I’ve been looking at having the camera really close to something but having your body really far away from it.

Nature as a subject matter suggests that what you’re interested in is changeable and interconnected. Like the weather in one part of the world, there is an immeasurable effect with the corresponding weather in a completely opposite corner of the earth.
So you’re talking about seeing two opposite perspectives of the same thing at once?

DL: There are different images, the image you see and an image which is inside of you that corresponds to the image seen.

JW: Someone else could be looking at the same image as you but seeing a different internal image.

DL:  It’s that gap

JW: It’s a performance.

DL: Yes, I started writing a script between a sleepwalker and an insomniac. I was thinking about the miscommunication in dialogue that could happen. I think I write in a very visual way. The narrative is driven visually.

JW: So they’re both communicating with each other about the same experience but they’re experiencing it differently. It’s the mediation.

DL: Mediation is a really interesting term; there’s a matter of media as in a mathematical sense, being a middle point. A meeting point of two distinct trajectories maybe.

JW: An investigation; with you as the investigator. You put images of the same things into different mediums. What we see is a sculpture, a digital rendition created through software and a screen-print of the same image, altogether.

DL: That’s right, it’s in a way using a ‘Google Glass,’ constantly unfolding information from one image, one sight. A supernatural ability to be omniscient and singular at the same time.

JW: You’re making space.

DL:  If the space we’re talking about here is definitely about proximity than distance, yes.


Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place

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Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place, Aerial View

 JW: I forgot to ask simply: ‘What it is you’re looking at?’

DL: That’s ironically the hardest question for me. I’d rather say I see nothing, but plenty to look at!
I went to a talk about Wim Wenders’ and philosopher’s Mary Zournazi’s new book (Inventing Peace, a Dialogue on Perception) Wim Winder’s said that ‘looking is different to seeing.’ He spoke about the relationship between the camera, audience and actors in the work of Japanese director Ozu. Winders’ described Ozu’s films as ‘cinema that is tender and compassionate.’

JW: It’s funny that you say that.  (We both sort of mock-swoon) That’s giving feelings, human emotions, to mechanistic processes.

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Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place 

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Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place, Aerial View

JW: I can’t help thinking about alchemy.

DL: The intellectual concept of alchemy is the search for a ‘pure material.’

JW: Perhaps synthetic.

DL: I want to talk about a process that relates to alchemy, without any of the mysticism attached to it.

JW: The image of mysticism is already attached to it.  An alchemist is an investigator though, of materials. Perhaps it’s your desire to approach your work with the qualities of an investigator or maybe, to use your art as a tool for investigation.

DL: For me, alchemy it is a way of describing a creative process:

1 element internal to me   + 1 element external to me  = something else.

JW:  We can’t avoid talking about Carl Jung.

DL: For Jung, there are three derisions on what alchemy reaches:

  1. Pure material
  2. Primary material

And more figuratively,

  1. Gold!

I’m most interested in the idea of a primary material.

JW: A material yet to be transformed. It’s still in conversation.

We forgot to talk about otherness, or maybe we did when we were talking about Wim Wenders. We just didn’t use the buzz word.


Douna Lim, 3 Perspectives, 1 Place

You can find images Douna Lim is interested in on her Tumblr site HERE.