Paper back / 60 pages / 152 x 177 mm
The book spans a range of motion, seeming to document a love that has been lost. Grainy, black and white images act as the main body of the book and feature subjects such as tree branches, cracked wallpaper and bleak landscapes. Kutyla explains that he took the photos intuitively, reflecting passing moments and attempting to preserve them. Lines of poetry add emotional depth to the images, forming a sort of diary, e.g. “Fingers missing traces of air, desperately / Seeking the warmth of mittens.” One would be forgiven for missing the soundtrack, as it can only be found on Kutyla’s website and, once listened to, adds a haunting element to the already forlorn content. It forces the reader to immerse themselves in the emotions of the book, recalling their own memories of similarly melancholic situations. Emptiness is emphasised is the space portrayed in the images, and, when combined with the echoing music, leads to the reader to feeling rather lonesome, if only for 15 minutes.
Kutyla stresses the importance of silence in his approach to creating Sentience, though our experience as readers is somewhat different: the harsh music makes this almost impossible. Without the soundtrack, it is much easier to appreciate quietness, following the pacing lines and letting one’s eye wander over the page. The reader is no longer encompassed in an environment created by the artist, but the loss of this ghostly aspect makes it a much calmer read. The content is clearly emotional, Kutyla is led by impulse rather than logic and this approach means that the poems are more enlightening and gripping than the photography itself. They are charged with feeling and the shadowy images lack this focus, although they do complement each other well. The rawness and honesty touch a nerve that many people can relate to and leaves an affecting impression and a reminder not to neglect reflection, even if it can be painful.