Rethinking Nothingness as a Digital Shock

Filip Anthonissen

An oddness overwhelming a filled void. It’s the occurring sensation in the major part of Filip Anthonissen’s (°1991, Belgium) works. Fragmented scenes of an altered reality force a new sensation of not quite knowing how to perceive. At first glance experienced as a disorientation, these digital visuals and their void can be a shock. The altered reality of these artificial spaces gives a consciousness which breaks with familiarity. An oddness permeating these visual images shocks the known.

The oddness of these digital spaces reflects the perfection that has been sought but got destroyed in the process of shaping it. This deconstruction is the play where the empty images come to be. The known object, the known place – in reality – that has been designed with a specific purpose gets deconstructed. The specific purpose, as well as the necessary context, gets dismantled by placing it in an empty space, lacking the context that is necessary to be. As everything gets reduced to nothingness, only the empty image flickering on the digital screen remains. This space and its object that are left behind are depicted with a peculiar atmosphere of absence, isolation, solitude and other uncanny feelings. There is something missing. This absence, as a result of the deconstruction, is signaled by the lack of context, the setting itself, the presence of an uncanny hand or a subtle glitch in the image. It is a filled void, where something is odd.

As there is an increasing presence of the human figure in Filip’s work, this strange absence that signals the presence of absence becomes more unknown.

The confrontation with these digital spaces transiting between the known and the altered as in a nothingness, is the digital shock of oddness. Not knowing what to think, one can rethink in the empty space and the lack of its context.

Written by Jonathan Meersman