Natasha Caruana invites viewers to step inside her mother Penny’s bedroom via a 360 degree VR work set against a backdrop of love, desire, health and our current age of excess. The interactive installation, Timely Tale, will be exhibited in London this December for the first time and was originally commissioned by Photoworks and HOUSE Biennial.
The narrative running throughout the artwork is the story of excess but also of consequence. It addresses NHS cuts, pharmaceutical price inflation, the pressure to find ‘Mr. Right’, and the impact the barrage of young and beautiful images can have on mental health and consumer choices. Particularly, perhaps, for the older woman (Penny), handling the ageing of her own body.
To experience her mother Penny’s story, viewers will be transported solo, wearing a 360 degree headset, via an intimate medical waiting room setting, into her bedroom through a short film capturing recuperation, finding the right outfit, storing medication and looking for the perfect online partner. The waiting room has been created using furniture from closed down medical facilities across London. The piece addresses the idea of choice and how, in the long run, too much choice can often lead to decision-making paralysis. For the first time three still images have been added to the series. These handprinted C-type photographs ‘Still waiting I, II & III’ allow the audience to stop and look a little longer at Penny and her surroundings.
Timely Tale is also a comment on the current social and political landscape we live in but also an observation of how the photographic frame, with the advent of new technology, is dramatically changing for the first time. The work is viewed through headsets and Timely Tale uses the 360 degree technologies to empower the audience to look around the artwork with choice of what to see. Viewers can turn their heads to the right to observe the taking of prescription pills or to the left to see what’s displayed on the television screen.
Natasha Caruana’s art practice is grounded in research concerned with narratives of love, betrayal and fantasy. Significant to all Caruana’s work is the questioning of how today’s technology is impacting relationships.