Siobhan Coen creates immersive environments by reworking the component parts of digital communications—RGB light, the pixels that make up images, and the spoken word—inviting us to experience how their qualities, more than their subject matter, affect what we perceive to be true.
Unknown Knowns features the voice of Donald Rumsfeld who was US Secretary of Defence during the Iraq war. Siobhan edits extracts from his audiobooks, to create a new monologue that presents Rumsfeld in the guise of an art theorist, seemingly intent on changing how people see. As the audio plays, computer-programmed pulses of red, green and blue light saturate a large print of brightly coloured squares, creating an optical illusion—they appear to move and form patterns.
The work explores the contextual nature of human perception and how information — filtered by the mind, technology and the political environment — can be manipulated to create new realities.