June 7 - July 26, 2014

The Darkroom Presents:

From Far Away Across The Universe
Elizabeth Withstandley


This installation is the third part of a multi phase project that started in the summer of 2011.  It began with the launch of a website to collect stories about a friend, Matt Winthrop, who had passed away the prior year. The website contained a built in audio recorder, enabling people to speak privately and tell their story of Matt.  Since stories become the record of our existence, the idea was that through these stories a stranger could get an understanding of a person they had never met.

Next, I enlisted the London based artist Cathy Ward to go to a concert by the band Spiritualized and experience it for Matt. The 37 audio recordings collected on the website were compiled onto a CD and sent to Cathy, along with a ticket to the concert. She was instructed to listen to the recordings prior to the concert so that she could get an idea of whom Matt was and experience the concert for him. She was also asked to document her experience at the concert in the form of audio, video and photography.  

The installation presents the recorded concert audio over a video featuring the waveform representation of the show.  Excerpts of the 37 recorded stories can be heard on the opposing side of the room.  Viewers can step in and out at any point and experience part of the concert and stories, allowing them to be a part of the event themselves as a transient presence through Matt and Cathy.

Cathy Ward


In 2011, I was asked by Elizabeth, a Los Angeles based artist, (whom I’d met at The Center For Land Use Interpretation's outpost at Wendover, Utah, in 2004) to be the vessel for 'From Far Away Across The Universe'. This was to be a project in which an experience was channeled through me, to be accessible to a group of people who knew a man called Matt Winthrop, an American friend of Elizabeth's who had died. Matt was a person I’d never met. After listening to hours of recordings of friends and family that Elizabeth had facilitated, I got a sense of this person. To hear their grief and sorrow was profoundly touching.

 The short film “Channel” was recorded on my way to the concert at the Albert Hall, via Hyde Park & over the great Serpentine river.  I regarded the journey as a mythological quest; walking West heading into the setting sun, the black waters of the Serpentine symbolic of the River Styx - the gateway to the underworld, the place of the dead. It was so hauntingly beautiful that night, a walk I will never forget, it felt like I was going to meet a spirit and take him to the preordained space. The moon rose as I got to The Albert Hall. The seat Elizabeth had bought me was No. 101. I found it very steep and alarmingly high, dead center, directly facing the stage, but virtually touching the round mushroom-like sound buffers in the ceiling. I could not stay with my vertigo, so I left, and was allotted a private box overlooking the stage. In the photos I’m using in 'channel' I always ensured that 101 was in all frames taken of the audience and the sound buffers. The soundtrack I worked on whilst on a plane to Central America. By chance I looked out & saw a rainbow aura of spherical light, a phenomena called a cloudbow, that was projected on the clouds and strangely following the aircraft. I used this as the final image as it was connected to my thinking of Matt.