Monachopsis- Alexander Van Der Byl


‘Through this body of work I wanted to portray the inner psychological experience of the very ‘subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place’ – monachopsis – often experienced by some members of a displaced or gentrified community. Through visual storytelling, the character within this set of images portrays both the familiar and unfamiliar. Monachopsis manifests itself in the inability to feel comfortable within new circumstances, and produces an underlying feeling of anxiety. This discomfort leaves a person feeling detached and drawn inwards into their own thoughts, despite their surroundings. The Polaroid images taken by the subject herself, in collaboration with me, are there as the ‘familiar’ attached to memories, in an attempt by the character to suppress uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. As with the complexities faced by both communities and urban planners, someone experiencing monachopsis lacks the ability to see a clear route to a more comfortable situation, and a process has to take place. A feeling most of us have at sometime experienced, and can relate to.’ – Alexander Van Der Byl

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