Video Art Program[The 55th Program] Isabelle Hayeur

Solastalgia, 2015, color, sound, 14min.45sec.

Solastalgia, the title of this work, is a word coined by the Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht. It expresses the sense of anxiety and distress we feel when a familiar place is transformed by climate change or environmental destruction. While nostalgia is a melancholic sensation that arises from being separated from a familiar place, solastalgia, on the other hand, refers to the sense of homesickness that we feel while being still at home.
Environmental problems have become a common concern for the entire human race, leading to a sense of anxiety about a variety of related phenomena. Changes in the environment brought about by sudden urban development also create a sense of loss and nostalgia for familiar landscapes. Once a landscape has been lost, it will never return. In her photographs and video works, Hayeur deals with this sense of anxiety and loss. After a series of images showing gradually intensifying rain, deserted houses, and rough seas, this work is interspersed with scenes of a families living near a calm shore. Then these sights are also swallowed by the bustle of a metropolis, and finally, the scene returns to rainclouds reverberating with peals of thunder.

Isabelle Hayeur:
Born in Montreal in 1969, lives and works in Quebec, Canada. She holds a Bachelor’s (1997) and a Master’s (2002) degrees in Fine Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. As an image-based artist, she is known for her photographs and her experimental videos. She has also realized several site-specific installations and public art commissions. Her work is situated within a critical approach to the environment, urban development and to social conditions. She is particularly interested in the feelings of alienation, uprooting and disenchantment.