Leala Faleseuga

Y2K Potion (2023)

10 min 55 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

Y2K Potion is an exploration of an era of time, through a rediscovered personal archive reworked into a layered digital video piece. Memory and artefacts are collaged in multiple ways, through projections, water, scans and physical items, resulting in a potion that resembles a ‘memory soup’ and harkens back to the potion-making of childhood.

In this work, the artist has rediscovered a personal trove, an old collaged journal, plus an archive of artefacts, photos and paper ephemera that spans the millennium era. The late 90s bleed into the early 2000s, and within this time the artist transitions out of high school, into adulthood, leaves home, visits Samoa, and starts university.  Everything from old Nokia advertisements and ice-cream wrappers, high school notices, found paper and photos, to snippets of letters and poetry, and botanical foliage have been collaged into a deeply personal journal that spans this time. Scans of this journal provide the light source for the work, projecting from above onto the artist's hands as they perform the ritual of assembling the potion in water, using old papers and photos from the archive, alongside found materials from today.

Upon the surface of the water, everything begins to abstract as the potion builds and forms, the layers intensify and only glimpses of the projected collages can be seen. The rest melts into the chaos, not unlike the remembrance and distortion of memory. Underneath the surface, it is more calm. The elements buckle, dance and breakdown while cocooned in water, lit hauntingly by the projections. Memory and debris suspend and sway in a way reminiscent of both otherworldly beauty, but also of our Moana encumbered by trash, oceanic polluters adrift. While this is indeed a potent memory soup, a potion and a spell, it also quietly considers what is here, and what is to come.

As the visuals and contexts layer, so too does the soundscape. Assembled from artist-made sounds and audio abstractions, found sounds, snippets of a Y2K ear-worm and ambient soundscapes from the artist's favourite millennial video game, the soundscape represents the incantation of this ritual, the transference of memory through sound… for what is a potion without its spell?

Other works by Leala Faleseuga

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