Photo by Kelly O'Brien

Are You There?

There was a single moment of near contact with my father when I was 7 years old; as his hand suddenly reached through the letterbox of my mother’s front door. He died 8 years after this brief encounter took place. It would be another decade until I would learn of his death, from the mouth of my grandmother as we wandered through the aisles of our local supermarket.

During the following years, discovering information about my father proved near impossible, with family members only revealing fragments of who he might have been and what he might have been like.

In an attempt to uncover this immaterial man I collaborated with clairvoyants to trace an impression of my estranged father. The information gathered is translated within a visual framework where psychic drawings, automatic writing and attempts to communicate with my farther are integrated.

All the characters involved in Are You There provide subjective, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same narrative, developing a fractured story that is constructed in co-creation with the clairvoyants involved.

Even though there is an absence of evidence and control over my personal circumstance, in my search for both truth and the constructed truth, working with clairvoyance and photography enables me to navigate this uncertain history and my findings can be rooted in both fact and fiction. The result reveals a reimagined landscape that enables me to construct a sacred yet lost relationship.

Are You There? by Kelly O’Brien was selected by FORMAT 21 Open Call Juror – Clare Strand, artist.