Juliana Gagné is a multidisciplinary artist with a BFA in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design. Juliana has a focus in experimental film photography and shoots with intentionally destroyed disposable cameras. After the roll is shot, Juliana utilizes a film soup technique which involves soaking the entire camera in a soup of alcohol, spices, chemicals and detergents, after which the camera is frozen and thawed before being developed.
Juliana's artwork is inspired by a concept called the "free soul state." Juliana is Sámi (Indigenous people to the Arctic) and prior to colonization, Sámi clans would have a noaidi, or medicine man. This noaidi would enter a trance-like state called the "free soul state" it was believed during this state the noaidi could travel freely to the six dimensions and commune with gods, goddesses and ancestors. Juliana interprets this state as a time when the unconscious mind is in control; similar to a dream, hallucination or meditation.
By entering the free soul state through photography, Juliana invites the viewer to explore the different dimensions that can not be easily accessed. With this series, Free Soul Travels, Juliana takes the viewer on a surreal journey through space and time, and asks the viewer to question their visible reality. The photos are 35mm shot on disposable cameras that were destroyed, tinted, stabbed, soaked, frozen and thawed. The change of state of the water molecules trapped in the camera mirrors the change of state the mind undergoes when it allows the unconscious to take control.
The entire disposable camera was submerged during the film soup process, which was a mix of alcohol (noaide were believed to consume distilled spirits as part of their transition to the free soul state), medicinal herbs, spices and cleaning detergents. The unpredictable process allows chaos and entropy to take control from the photographer and produces psychedelic color shifts and shapes. Juliana seeks to capture not simply how a place or experience looked in reality, but to capture the emotions of an experience to produce a different truth.
Juliana has an upcoming group exhibition called Sehnsucht opening February 3 in Barcelona, Spain at the Can Basté center (addressis Pg. Fabra i Puig 274, 08031 Barcelona).