Movement Artifact represents the intersection of Natalja Kent’s most intimate mediums: photography, research and embodiment practices. Chromogenic prints serve as artifacts of embodied performances held in solitude within the pitch-black darkroom.
In 2013, during a Jin Shin Jyutsu body-work session, Kent was advised that she needed to release an internalized fear embodied by her maternal line from generations of totalitarian and oppressive rule, most directly through her mother, an immigrant to the U.S. from an oppressive communist regime. This lead to a flood of research into various forms of embodiment techniques, including Mindful Based Stress Reduction Meditation, Feldenkrais, breath-work, Zero Balancing, Janzu, Acupuncture, singing, somatic therapy and cranial sacral therapy. Of particular interest is the research of Dr. Amy Cuddy, Dr. John Kabot-Zinn and Dr. Mario Martinez, whose work with biochemistry, body movement, meditation and neuro-immunology are opening new terrain into embodiment practices.
Interwoven with this research, Kent experiments in the color darkroom, a practice she has held for twenty-one years, with a continuing thread of questioning the process, objectivity and inherent flaws of the medium. The working method in Movement Artifact includes meditation, movement, singing, flashlights and colored gels working together in the analog color darkroom.
By bringing these aspects of research and method into her practice, Kent draws forth a body of work that questions the role of the artist’s presence, embodiment and the materiality of chromogenic paper. Large scale prints serve as traces of movement, singing, light and meditation in a private, blackened space. The final prints bring forth a sense of an open channel into an unseen realm in which the artist is active. On the surface, one can interpret the prints solely on the aesthetic plane, while further investigation reveals something uncanny at work. This space of slippage, opening and the unknown lies fixed into the silver halide surface.
Sizes of prints are 20x24 and 50x 90 inches. Above images include details.