South Hill Park Arts Centre
South East England

Ed Pien’s work Memento considers the way in which we act and react to the forces that shape us, and reflects on the ideas of the displaced, forgotten and unseen. The key issue of Memento has been developed out Pien’s research into the plight of illegal immigrants who often take great risks in the hope of living a more significant and meaningful life, as well as being a continuation of his interest in the otherworldly, invisibility, disappearance and journeys.

Memento is an installation of ropes, nets, cut silhouettes, mirrors, sound and video. As you enter the exhibition space, you are instantly greeted by darkness and a deep rumbling sound, which creates a feeling of displacement and transports the viewer to another world. The dimmed light immediately mutes your sense of sight, and the loud sound inhibits what you can hear.

Not only does Memento play with your senses, it also plays with the gallery space, throwing shadows onto the floors and walls, extending the physical maze of ropes and nets that you can see before you. Various oval shaped mirrors hang from the ceiling, picking up elements of the projection, sometimes causing total eclipses of the image on the wall behind, or allowing the image to spin around the room. There is also a large stationary video projection, near the centre of the installation, showing the artist in the sea, being surrounded by waves and challenged by the obstacle of nature.

The viewer is invited to walk through the installation, underneath the canopy of ropes. This allows you to become more aware of your surroundings, and the positions in which you place your feet, as you constantly look around for any obstacles that may be in your way.

Memento is incredibly thought provoking, allowing the viewer to contemplate their surroundings and to develop their own interpretations of the installation. These multiple interpretations are developed through the personal way in which the installation takes you on a physical and emotional journey of discovery, whilst challenging your senses and considering the struggles and obstacles that illegal immigrants face.