Looking Back

Elly Heise

Memories are often augmented by our own imaginations or simply by the time that has elapsed between then and now. Navigating the spaces these memories are stored in can be difficult, as some are buried deep within the tunnels of our minds or fused with other occurrences. Looking Back plays with this premise as it explores four intersecting realms.

Influenced by famed neurologist Oliver Sacks, Looking Back considers his theory on imaginative memory. Sacks expressed that imaginative memory can be understood as a subconscious process where our minds fill in memory gaps in the absence of external verification. Heise's reimagination and navigation of her own family archives demonstrates this theory.

Looking Back also flirts with spatial engagement and the interpretation of surrealist realms. It explores spaces somewhere between the psychological and the corporeal, a membrane between the physical world and the imaginative. These intersecting realms structure the show, asking us to reflect on the spaces where our memories and extensions of ourselves reside.

Soundscape by Matthew Davies.

Click the image below to experience Looking Back on your browser or through Virtual Reality. We encourage those with a Oculus Quest to follow this link to SideQuest. Mobile users may enjoy a pre-recorded exhibit tour even further down.

A gallery of exhibited works can be fond at the bottom of the page.

LookingBack Intro2.jpg

* ​For the best browser experience use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox ​*

* The program may take some time to load due to the size of the file *

* Safari is extremely buggy and has no audio *

* Gallery is available for download for a high operating experience *

All works displayed are for sale and directly fund the artist. 

Looking Back - Guide Tour


Elly Heise

Elly Heise is a first-generation Canadian artist with Norwegian-German parentage. Heise attended the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver where she got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015, majoring in Photography. In the Spring of 2020 she obtained her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. While continuing to actively practice and exhibit, she has also recently completed residencies in Switzerland and Portugal.

“Through my artistic practice I aim to highlight and explore the potential for a symbiotic existence between the various environments that we as humans are typically exposed to. Using the photographic medium, I investigate people’s innate desire to inhabit imagined space and question how this desire potentially impacts our relationship with physicality and self-awareness. I reflect on numerous spaces we must somehow learn co-exist with. The photoshopped images I make visually intersect natural spaces, digital realms, memory archives, and the human body. I invite the viewer to consider our existence with these intertwined spaces.”

Image List

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