This research addresses the assumption that the different technological environments of today may have changed our sensory experience of the world, and possibly the way in which we experience wonder and enchantment. Yet at the same time (early) modern techniques such as the 'rarekiek' (peep show), perspective boxes, cinema, virtual reality, and 3D techniques, provide ways for creating mesmerizing (fictional) realities. Activating the imagination is often connected with (imagination) techniques, however, these techniques may not necessarily always evoke a multi-sensory and wondrous experience.
In her research project Kraal investigates and questions how we experience sensual wonder and enchantment and to what extent (early) modern imagination-techniques can be implemented to create an artwork and performance, which offer a sensory and novel experience. In her art practice, Kraal addresses a state of in-betweenness and curiosity. Wonder is associated with the unexpected, the unknown and the incapacity of categorization. Enchantment and wonder relate to each other in the sense that both imply a state of uncertainty and ambiguity. It is this unclear area where one finds oneself in-between, when one is yet without judgment, which makes an experience enchanting and wondrous.
In this research project, the historical 'rarekiek' (16th century and onwards) acts as a case study to investigate the multimedial character of early modern media and the sensory experience they offered. In contrast to most contemporary imagination-techniques, the 'rarekiek' had performative, bodily, interactive, tactile and sensitive aspects. This research aims to get an understanding of the role of wonder and enchantment in relation to media archaeology, through the investigation of techniques, which stimulate the senses and the imagination in various forms and by creating a contemporary installation and performance.
Doina Kraal (1980, NL) studied Fine Art at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Kraal is interested in a multisensorial approach to the unknown. Through her multimedia installations and performances, Kraal investigates how a state of ‘in-betweenness’ can be achieved — one part of the mind experiencing the world of fact and the other, the world of appearances.
In 2013 the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund and Foam, photography museum Amsterdam awarded Kraal the ‘Foam 3h award’. This resulted in the traveling installation and performance ‘Touche-à-Tout’ (2014-2017). A collection of writings, images, and documentation was developed concurrently around this key work in the artists’ book ‘Touche-à-Tout: some frames to the wonder of the world, featuring some of the wonders of the world’, Onomatopee (2017-2018). In 2019 ‘Touche-à-Tout’ was featured at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam as one of The Best Dutch Book Designs.
Her work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Foam, Amsterdam and Marres, Maastricht, the Netherlands; National Gallery, Mumbai, India; Flora Ars+Natura, Bogotá, Colombia; Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, Brazil.