Martina Amati is a London-based artist and filmmaker that has worked with water as one of her main subjects. She developed the installation film “Under” with Kevin Fong, a scientist and a physiology professor at University College London.(1) She has various shots of people floating in water. She uses low frequency echoing sounds to create stability in the background and also to help enhance the spatial temporal depth of the film.(2) Amati uses the varying tones of blue to evoke a sense of calmness that amalgamates with both the ambient and manufactured sounds to reflect off each other a more profound sensation of surreal peace.
The audience is able to feel a sense of peace that a “freediver” would feel when completely submerging themselves into the water. (3)Toward the end of the film, the mermaid characters arrive, which coincides with the introduction of a high pitched ting sound that seizes our attention. Subsequently, the background slowly rises into a crescendo foreshadowing the end of the experience and the film. The use of negative space within the film reinforces the spatial temporal reality of the “freedivers” experience in the ocean. The screen in the installation acts as a painting in motion and the sounds further enhance the depth of the experience. Amati and Fong are making artwork that is a modern visual painting that makes the viewers have more of an immersive experience.
Amati and Fong's work is like a modern version of “Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending” painting but his work is rather an abstract version of a person in motion.(4) The divers in Amati and Fong's work are being illuminated by the sun beaming through the ocean. This gives the images a more directional light that has dark empty space that surrounds the subject that is similar to a chiaroscuro painting.(5)
The dark walls of the exhibit help to further engulf the audience deeper into this spatial reality. Amati and Fong are visual painters that use the cameras technical ability to capture twenty four frames a second of a subject in motion. They are a modern artist using motion and light to capture an audience. The main difference that separates Amati and Fong is their ability to collaborate and use Fong’s expertise in science to consult and enhance Amati vision as a filmmaker. The exhibition room is large enough to feel like the audience is at an aquarium looking through glass. Amati and Fong worked together using ideas of having an “holistic experience of being at one with the ocean.”(6) Overall, this installation clearly displays this sense of tranquility that both the artist and scientist were striving to create.
4)Art and Electronic Media Edward A. Shanken Pg.17
5)Art and Electronic Media Edward A. Shanken Pg.18