In Whiteout, Rosa Menkman tells the story of an exhausting mountain hike during a snowstorm. As she makes her way up the mountain, she experiences the loss of her physical sensations, leading to an inability to see, hear, or orient herself and the over-saturation of the environment itself. And while steadily moving forward, the spatial dimensions that were at first seemingly wiped out, start to offer themselves in new ways.
What does it mean to navigate a grey, dimensionless space? To move without visual or auditory references or to physically plot a course when there is no conventional sense of direction or even horizon? For Menkman, the experience of Whiteout is one of “slices of consciousness, and traversing a virtual axis to nowhere. A landscape with multiple horizons, in which orientation between top and bottom does not exist except within the wanderer's mind. And even though things seemed to happen in the same space, this state created different places, all layered at once.
Rosa Menkman was in residency at CERN as part of Collide 2019. Whiteout is based on an essay of the same title, originally written for AX15 AX15 (a project by Mario de Vega in collaboration with Rosa Menkman, 2019) and inspired by her time during the artist's Collide residency at CERN, her climb of the Brocken and a voyage on board of a ship of the Chilean army to Antarctica. The Whiteout essay was re-published In Photoresearcher 33 (2020).
Text by the artist