The future as it was in the projections of Katri Walker, by Ric Spencer

Posted on Tuesday 15th September, 2009

Katri Walker - Sometimes it Makes Me Wonder What I Fought ForExhibition: Sometimes it makes me wonder what I fought for
+44 141 Gallery, SWG3, Glasgow
September 2009

by Ric Spencer

Long pauses interrupt most of our lives – we’ve even invented words to describe them – uncomfortable, mundane, awkward; some of them extend into longer periods of boredom or loneliness; some of them extend into lives which become memories while they’re being lived.

The moment as it defines a certain point in our lives can extend back or forth, like a rolling video as it is edited – Martin Heidegger once suggested that it is the future-past which defines our present; what I think he meant was that the future is already past when we begin to think of it as already lived – we should be careful of what we wish, indeed we should be more conscious of the act of wishing. As time becomes less linear we are beginning to understand that our projections, be they emotional or psychological, paint the picture of our past while simultaneously manipulating the current moment away from us.

It seems more than serendipity that Katri Walker has three projections concurrently running in this study of a man and his meshing with time. The three cornerstones of time; past, present and future are seen here not as definitive parts of our lives but co-operatives, stealing away our self identity like stealth ninjas in the night, creating our self perception without us knowing it. I also mention Heidegger because of his Nazi affiliations, a man who managed to not only not apologise but in some way to ignore (and be allowed to ignore) his condoning of the terrible acts of Germany in World War II. As we “celebrate” the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII Heidegger’s philosophy and penchant for writing himself out of literal history makes you wonder what we fought for, something Jimmy, the subject matter for this moving portrait, constantly asks himself.

A Black Watch Paratrooper and veteran of conflicts in Palestine, Libya and Cyprus, Jimmy’s portrait projects a man in conversation with his past through his constant lament for the future. While having a coffee in the West End his musings turn to repetition, not out of habit (well maybe out of habit) but out of the need to fill pauses with the insistence of dialogue. The act of speech giveth and it also taketh away, vocalisation creates and destroys, but, as it is built through the narrative of Walker’s time based projection, we see speech’s insistence on forming subjectivity (Jimmy’s subjectivity) defined through (as Judith Butler defines it) the performed speech act.

As I sit here looking out at the window at my kids checking the mailbox I wonder at our obsession for receiving information – always from the past as it is – and I wonder at Walker’s desire to show us that this obsession manipulates, ever so subtly, our constant rhetorical critique on the way things have to be. Life manifests itself in all sorts of possibilities, but in the end, and I certainly believe this, our own projections give us the life we desire and the outcome that our past needs to survive…its impossible to imagine it any other way. Katri Walker’s respectfully shot portrait of this man, his own projections and his morality, builds an image of the power of motive, and the completely puzzling understanding that the ethics we build our society on are simply manifestations of future intent reflecting on the past, giving us no time (only large and uncomfortable silences) in the present to reconsider the morality of our lives as nothing more then the subconscious desire to understand (and speak) the narrative of cyclical time.

Ric Spencer is an artist and writer and is also the Curator/Exhibitions Manager at Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia.