Out of the Blue by Virginie Rebetez
On March 2, 1998, Suzanne Gloria Lyall walked home from her usual bus stop, on the way to her campus dorm room. That’s the last time anybody saw her.
Eighteen years later, she still hasn’t been found, in spite of the search efforts of police, her parents, and those enlisted by her parents, including psychics who hovered their hands above old photos, hoping to form a connection. Her parents, Mary & Doug Lyall, who never stopped looking for their daughter, created in 2001 « The Center for Hope”, a community providing support and resources to the parents of missing children.
Out of the blue brings together a lot of different material (textual & photographic) coming from different sources (new material & archives) creating a portrait of Suzanne Gloria Lyall and questioning at the same time the different status of the photographic image and the documents. Within a multi-layered narrative, the project offers a new echo to this dramatic and still unresolved story.
Images of the first NY Police helicopter search, landscapes relevant to the story, portraits, family archives, Police leads, emails / fax / letters / drawings from different psychics (more than 75 in 18 years) involved in the case, Suzanne belongings and clothing, maps, age-progressed composite made by forensic artist, still life…
This selected and reorganized material starts to speak with each other in a new way, opening up a new space for speculations and new links. The status of each image and document is constantly shifting and offering new meaning and new context. Throughout the book, Suzanne’s face is never clearly shown; Disappearing between the pages, as she is living outside the frame, in an invisible world. The only clear and straight portraits of her are the three “age-progressed composites”, made in collaboration with a US professional forensic artist, depicting her possible features today, at the age of 38.
During the investigation, the various photographs of Suzanne were used by different psychics not for the representation of her, but as objects they touched, in order for them to connect and get closer to Suzanne; so the project focuses on that aspect and offers a reflection on the status of the image.