‘Everything and More’ by Rachel Rose

Everything and More is the name of the eleventh piece made by the American artist Rachel Rose; it is and audio-visual installation about the experience of spacewalking that focuses more on the sensory perception rather than the experience itself. In the video we can hear the astronaut David Wolf describing what he felt during the multiple times he went spacewalking; he describes what it’s like to float weightlessly around the Planet’s atmosphere and how he felt his body when he came back to Earth. His story is already quite hypnotising, also the artist tried to recreate this situation using close-up moving images of fluids (like milk, soap and ink) resulting in a slow constant movement that gives us the idea of separation from the body, and even from the real world. There are many other images shot in a neutral buoyancy laboratory (where astronauts are trained for zero gravity). The complexity of this piece resides in rendering an out-of-body experience to the spectators and giving them a strong sense of dispersion and overwhelming. All the images are followed by a remarkable sound work: she manipulated samples from non-verbal vocalisations of Aretha Franklin singing in a church in 1972; she used a spectrograph to remove the sounds of the organ and the crowd inside the chapel leaving just the frequencies of the voice that in the end appears distant and floaty, drifting around the ears of the spectator. Using the software Ableton she was able to see the performance as a waveform and using the spectrograph tool she could, mainly by eye, highlight just the voice of the singer, erasing the rest; she then cut the wordless song into pieces and mixed them together leaving Franklin’s emotional register. I found very interesting the fact that the piece is not just about the sensation of spacewalking, but even about the concept of disembodiment; possibly the piece could also represent a celebration of life itself; what made me think this was the part of the video in which the astronaut described his disoriented sensations as soon as he arrived back to Earth, defining the situation as a “re-birth” experience, as if he had been completely out of his body but still being (in a sense of existing).

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