Eva Olthof: Vertical Wandering / an approach to imagining a submerged place

Mentor: Doreen Mende

Independent reviewer: Brian William Rogers

Arnhem, June 2011


Off the coast in the north of the Netherlands, an extinct, prehistoric volcano lies dormant in the layers of the earth and beneath the waters of the Wadden Sea. The contradiction articulated by this submerged volcano as starting point –present but not visible – allowed me to use the image and imagination in order to go beyond based rules of evidence by means of empirical facts. It lets imagination become a component of the 'real'. I will investigate the function of absence within a photograph, a fixed image, to trigger associations to the actual invisible object: the volcano. My interest lies with the necessity of 'sinking' as a mode of traveling to an unknown destination, and its consequences for our notion of time and space.
My thesis is to be read as a proposed starting point for vertical wandering: submerging through place to earlier experiences in a non-linear way.
My current practice is dominated by selections of fragments: associative collections taking on the themes of 'image, history and memory'. This thesis has helped me to form a theoretical base and has sharpened my view towards the image by reflecting on my own work through the work of others. My thoughts will be explained with the help of Chris Marker, Susan Sontag, Frits van der Stok and Roland Barthes.