Rachel Howarth


Mic Muted (Camera Off)

Douglas Stewart Building Windows, 3 Charles St, Edinburgh EH8 9AD

In my practice I am interested in exploring de-familiarisation and the uncanny. I find that photographs, as visual records of the past, can have a slightly strange effect on the present, which can be manipulated when translated into paint. Throughout the past year, I have started to paint more from digital images out of the frustration of having most of the ones I see be through a screen - I wanted to bring them out of the screen and back into the world. In my painting Mic Muted (Camera Off) I re-contextualised Zoom call imagery of grids of people in profile. I worked from a still of Videodrome (1983) in an attempt to highlight the absurdity of this contemporary scene by having the viewer see it through the eyes of someone from the 80s. In having the ‘Zoom people’ on television screens I hoped to give the scene an air of spectatorship/surveillance. This mirrors how I sometimes feel when on a zoom call if I have my microphone muted and camera switched off. I hope that the large scale of the work (140 x 100 cm) creates a sense of familiarity that is then broken down as the work takes on a dystopian quality.