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video installation, 2021, 1H loop, 3 projections on black surface, surround sound


'NAVEX-4' is a video installation of three projections combined with a pink noise soundscape. The public is invited into a black box that is standing in a pitch-black room, the three contiguous walls (apart from the entrance) of this black box show video projections, accompanied by a soundscape coming from two speakers hanging above, to the left and right side of the box. The video projections are selected fragments of old super 8 film material from my maternal grandparents, who were inland shipmen between Holland, Belgium and Germany throughout the 70’s. The fragments contain passing landscapes, moving water and snapshots of life on deck. The title references the name of the ship, as we embark on a trip of our own.


The three projections are one and the same loop, but they all start at a different time, thus creating three different projections at any given moment, but still familiar to the audience. The images are projected at eye level, in a size resembling a window. This way the viewer can imagine standing in the cabin of the Navex-4, but because of the dark surroundings, the nostalgic images and the meditative soundscape more like in a dreamlike state, than trying to mimic reality. The images inherently carry a feeling of movement.


To accompany these images there is a pink noise soundscape, generated from a synthesizer. Pink noise mimics sound signals of biological systems through the cyclical sounds of nature, such as rain, wind, rustling leaves or as in this case: water. Although this noise is purely synthesized, as soon as it gets combined with the video images situated on the ship, showing water in almost every frame, the brain automatically makes us believe we are listening to real water. There are different layers of waves in the soundscape, varying in speed and intensity, and sometimes a far away ship/foghorn is added into the mix, supporting the overall hypnotic ambience of the installation. Seagull sounds are added to reinforce the nostalgic feeling and are an almost classic sound to stir a memory.


Pink noise has the quality to reduce the difference between background hum and loud noises, it can filter out all other sounds around us, also helping people to fall asleep and keep them longer in a deep state of sleep. Combining these qualities with the nostalgic super 8 movie projections and the blackbox setting, results in an almost meditative and relaxing experience for the visitors. Thus the intention of this installation is for the viewer to be immersed in his or her inner world of memories through this meditation. By looking at someone else’s memories, you get lost wandering in your own.

Selected as laureate for Artcontest 2021

Created through an artist residency at Het Bos

With the support of Breedbeeld


© Sofie De Backere 


Exhibition set-up Het Bos 'Vruchtbare Grond 2021'

Exhibition set-up Artcontest 2021  

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