Akeroyd Collection


Martine Syms, DED, 2021

In DED, Martine Syms appears in the form of an avatar created using a 3D scan of her body. She is in pieces but comes together into human form and begins walking across the digitally rendered landscape. Over the course of 16 minutes, against the backdrop of a vast, twilight space, we see Syms continually die and be re-born. In this featureless world, the camera’s view circles Syms and we see nothing but the horizon. At first, she vomits violently and collapses, only to stand up strong and begin walking again. She is directly under the sun’s oppressive gaze, her shadow rotating around her as she walks, as a gun appears in her hand. She shoots herself in the temple and collapses into a pool of her own blood. The camera circles back and pans across her shoulders as she lies on the ground. The words ‘to hell with my suffering’ can be seen printed on her clothes. She stands and walks. Before long she is thrust into the air, thousands of feet, and then plummets to the ground. Again she is resurrected without injury and continues on her path. This is all accompanied by an evolving soundtrack of emotive pop music with rousing strings, plucky acoustics and lush synth pads. The lyrics reflect on 21st Century life, the challenges of interpersonal relationships, and the human condition itself. She stabs herself and survives. Finally, she collapses as her environment turns to dusk, and she breaks into parts; limbs, torso and head separated like a doll. Caught endlessly somewhere between life and death, hope and despair, power and powerlessness, the film loops and we see her re-assemble at dawn, unscarred and unphased, to begin the purgatory cycle again.

Duration15 minutes and 47 seconds
Edition1 of 5 + 1AP