Mask Filter (2008)
A series of mixed media sculptures,
various dimensions (from approx. 30cm x 15cm x 15cm to approx. 37cm x 35cm x 35cm)
[from Design for a Carnival]
Mask Filters are a series of ‘sculptures’ which are to be looked ‘through’ rather than ‘at’. Conceived as the means by which Chodzko’s elaborate project, Design for a Carnival, could be documented (whilst also ensuring that documentation process was participating within the ritual) each Mask Filter is designed to be attached to the lens of a camera, therefore functioning as both mask and filter between viewer and subject. Mask-Filters are usually made from a mixture of simple, found, organic, exotic, everyday, expensive and poor materials constructed to make a complex web of often fragile matter. Each Mask-Filter exists partly as a poem of references made through the sequence of the names of materials listed in their construction. These structures, despite sharing visual similarities with ‘outsider’ sculptures, are intended paradoxically, to have a use-value and functionality attributed to them; They are a piece of camera kit – at least in a parallel reality; a folk sci-fi – an apparatus which seems aesthetically and materially at complete odds with the smooth, shiny black and silver metals and plastics commonly used for the technology of cameras and their accessories. Mask Filter turns the observer into something carnivalesque and strange, prompting the viewer to attract attention. It allows the camera operator and the subsequent audiences to become as masked as the subject so that the web of lines of connection between seen and seer flows back and forth, both trapped and sieved, between the camera, image, audience and artist.
Groups of Mask Filters were made in a series of different phases in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2013. Other works based around ideas of visual ‘filtration’ range from A Plan for a Spell, Ghost, I See Through Every Image, Same, Deep Above , etc while the theme of a ritualistic dressing up, or costuming, in order to enhance perception is also explored in works such as M-path.
As part of Design for a Carnival, Chodzko’s series of three 80 x 35mm slide projections (Pattern for a Procession with Two Masks, 2007, Guide for a Parade with Two Masks and Plan for a Parade with Two Masks, both 2004) each propose a route for the viewer, alternating between the ‘wearing’ of one mask filter and another, and between one location and another. For each of the three processions Chodzko was led by a local guide, often a child, sometimes a passerby, on a meandering path through their territory. The final image sequence is a proposition for a possible parade route, impossible to fulfil physically because of its vacillation between two global sites, therefore existing as deferral, a suggestion, and an experience of a carnival procession that might therefore operate in the imagination only, in the relationship between art object and viewer.
A further photographic series using the masks was developed in 2008 with the Bone Mask Filter Tour.
A related ‘mask’ work is Mask Filter Arc (2016).