If you could see me now is a trilogy of multi-screen DVD video installations by Minna Rainio and Mark Roberts. The series is comprised of the works Rajamailla (Borderlands) (2004), Angles of Incidence (2006) and Eight Rooms (2008). THe three works explore how different groups of people experience their changing social positions and relations, and focus on people who exist at the margins of society – margins which might be either physical (geographical) or social. Each of the works also deals with the transformations experienced when passing from one place, time or set of circumstances to another.
Rajamailla (Borderlands) Three-screen synchonised DVD installation, 24 minutes
Rajamaiila is a DVD installation which takes the Finnish-Russian border as its central theme. The film focuses on the lives of people living on both sides of the border, using fact, fiction and fantasy to investigate how the presence of the border affects their lives.
The film is presented on three-screens - the left screen shows scenes from Finland, the right screen shows scenes from Russia, while the central screen shows scenes from the border cut between the two countries. The images from Finland and Russia have been photographed in villages and areas which lie very close to the border.
Eight Rooms Eight-screen synchronised DVD installation. 20 minutes
'Eight Rooms' is an installation consisting of eight video projections that deals with the trafficking of women into Finland. The eight screens are arranged to form a circle around the audience. The audio soundtrack for each screen features one story - one aspect or point of view – detailing the experiences of a trafficked woman. Each story is associated with a different screen. Each screen depicts a bed in a room. The beds are initially untidy. As the story begins, a cleaning woman enters the room and begins to tidy the room. When the room has been tidied, she leaves the room (and the screen) and enters the next room on the adjacent screen. Occasionally, the images on the screens are interrupted with other footage supporting the dialogue. As the cleaner moves from screen to screen, the tidied rooms behind the audience become untidy again, so that by the time the cleaner has made a full circuit around the installation, the first room is once again untidy and in need of cleaning.
Angles of Incidence Three-screen DVD installation. 15 minutes
Angels of Incidence deals with the experiences of immigrants moving to other countries. The work is comprised of three video scenes photographed in three separate locations – an immigration interview room, an immigration detention centre, and an administration building where decisions concerning the immigrant’s future are made.
Each of the spaces photographed for Angles of Incidence are spaces of power – situations which the immigrant must pass through in order to enter and be legally accepted in his or her new society. The video material consists of static ‘photographic’ shots – there is only one long shot of each space. No people are visible in the spaces, rendering the spaces, and their significance, all the more powerful.
Each image is accompanied by audio interviews with immigrants detailing their experiences in each of the specific locations. Their stories complement and contrast with the stark images.