There is something unknown behind the white wall. The white wall is a reflective screen, which reflects back any information that is projected on to it. The black hole is the opposite principle, the
camera, the eye of the beholder – it reflects nothing at all, but absorbs everything into it. With his meticulously constructed video installations, Daniel de Roo reminds us how this principle functions in our daily environments. When we look around us, do we see the reflection of our own perception or do we gaze into the iris of the unknown? In his most recent work de Roo literally pulls elements out of the video screen and places them into the realm of physical things. These things, which hover in between two different dimensions, march cautiously into a new plane of existence. A field in which they have attentively detached themselves from their original context and start to act as autonomous beings. Willing to
communicate to us on a physical level. In carousel, for instance, the striped curtain of a circus carousel gently waves in the wind as if flirting to the child in us who wants to peak behind this veil.
But in their detachment, these things leave behind a gap. A black hole in the land of origin, the image and its context. In doing so they reveal an ambivalent character; both concealing and exposing their appearance.
A person standing in front of the film projector inevitably becomes part of the film, casting a dark silhouette among the protagonists in the picture. For the viewers that have remained seated, the silhouette is as much an obscuration as it acts as a foreign intruder violating the scene. In Heros (2010), a fireman takes on this position. Being cut out from its context, the fireman has been transformed into an archetype, a monument. But also, in this process of alteration, has become alienated to its original situation and purpose, becoming the anonymous intruder rather than the Hero. The archetype might be the product of a process of disconnection with reality, or else a shield behind which we hide ourselves…
This game of hide and seek that stereotypical situations, people and objects perform, carries within itself a dual nature. From the early Greek tradition the mask has always been a tool for the display of the archetype as well as a relic that obscures the individual behind it. Gradually through the history of theatre the role of the mask has become superfluous, since it became more and more integrated into the viewers own presupposition. Which has rendered the present day performer indiscernible from its mask and vice versa.
Or maybe that transparency already existed. A closer look at the early Latin root of the word ‘mask’, reveals masca, which is commonly translated as ghost. The mask, the face, the façade, continues to exist indoors as an entity that lingers between two realms and can pass through any wall. Perhaps it is the wall, in architectural terms, that looks back at us. In Theatre, a script for spotlights transforms into an arrangement of silent signals to the outside world, the world of the viewer. And we, the equally speechless spectators, are lifted into a third-person-perspective floating in the air, from which we look down onto ourselves. It would almost seem as though we had become alienated even towards our own position, as if our own paradigms suddenly had slipped onto a stage in which we too were merely performers in an absurdist-existentialist play. There is no longer a within, only the underlying structures of our feelings and projections, reflected back at us. As such, de Roo establishes with much conviction a situation in which these constructions are exposed, resembling a post-structuralist notion of the self. The irony that resides over the attempt in creating these constructions becomes visible through the suggestion of a gentle naivety in the materials de Roo uses. Sometimes blowing up the scale of an object or downsizing it to a miniature representation, the objects, buildings and people develop a playful relationship with the viewer and exhibit affection for the fabrication of the world and our participation in it.
The shimmering white wall is not only a cinema screen, but also a ‘screen of dreams’, onto which the structures of our dream images are arranged. A space into which our visions and illusions are projected as well as our desire for meaning and understanding. The black gap that is the inevitable effect of pulling the virtual into the real, suggests that every vision or thing must also contain an invisible side, in which the unknown resides as a stranger looming in the shade of our perception.