“...only a signal shown...” is a performance-based exhibition by Dutch artist Lisa Vlamings. Over the course of two weeks, Vlamings will inhabit the NX Projects space, slowly transforming its windows into a series of panels that reflect her psychological dispositions towards both the room itself and the world she sees from within its glass confinements, resulting in an installation of linguistic impingements on the glass.
Inspired by the concept that a memory is purest when unable to be recalled, Vlaming works to preserve the truth in simple moments. The artistwill capture the brief occurrences and fragments of thought that instantaneously pass her by, documenting the live rapport between herself and her environment via her window markings. From the outside, viewers are challenged to decipher the backwards text which she has inscribed. Moreover, as one approaches, Vlamings will instinctively react, creating an intimate -- yet fleeting -- moment which she then catalogues on the pane.
The project’s title is a line from an 1874 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which is a meditation on the inevitable transience of encounters with fellow human beings as well as the role of the individual in relation to the greater world.
“Ships that pass in the night, and speak to each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak to one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.”
In addressing the alternative perspective of the spectator, mirrors are placed in the space so as to provide the viewer with Vlamings’ viewpoint as well as to decode the otherwise-backward words. In this sense, despite the division instilled by the windows (which echo the sentiment in Longfellow’s poem), the mirrors ultimately allow for the viewer and artist’s perspectives to be shared.