Vanessa Godden was born in Ottawa, Canada and now resides in Houston, Texas. She currently attends the University of Houston from which she expects to receive her B.F.A. degree in Photography/Digital Media in May of 2012. Vanessa is interested in the creation of her own ritualistic practices and the development of cyclical patterns. In 2010 she participated in Artist Dialogue at the Houston Center for Photography and screened work in Flicker Lounge at Diverse Works in January and February of 2012.
I am extremely interested in creating my own ceremonial practices that comment on personal experiences. This obsession with ritualistic manifestation progressed into a cyclical and familial customary practice within my household in which I resurrected each of the objects my father has brought back from his international business ventures. In hope of establishing a tangible relationship with my estranged father, I developed performances in which I digitally photographed myself interacting with the tchotchke’s as a means of documenting my artificial connection. I experimented with varying photographic means of depicting the alternate universe I was sculpting, such as stop motion animation, constructed scenario stills, and performative/situational pastiche.
The system of physically animating the figurines afforded me the aptitude to form an authentic bond to each of the trinkets, as well as a falsified bond built by my imagination. Through the process of constructing the stop motion animation short, I began to realize how the knick-knacks were actually multiplying and consuming my house. The unresolved circumstances of the situation allowed me to keep the project open and infinite. As a result, I incorporated a loop into my short film in order to address the repetitive constitution of my affiliation with my father.
I eventually ventured into the studio and began photographing myself piled under mounds of the souvenirs. The studio space allowed me to present my body and the objects as a landmass floating in blank space, but I soon moved the process into my home and proceeded to continue the project in different areas of my house. Once I began photographing myself within my natural surroundings, it seemed only natural to create exaggerated scenes from my past and present in which my father should have been present, and replaced him with a specific figurine.