Pages

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MA Supervisor - Dr Emile Devereaux

One of my MA supervisors is Dr Emile Devereaux BA, MFA, PhD.

To quote from his Bio, Emile is an internationally exhibiting media artist who works at the intersection of electronic arts production and theory. His artistic practice includes interactive electronics installation, 3D animation, and digital media. You can find examples of his work here: www.radiofilm.com/index.htm


Thursday, October 20, 2011

MA Supervisor - Dr Andrew Quick

Andrew Quick is Director of LICA. Andrew studied English and Philosophy at Newcastle University and trained as a theatre director at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff in 1984. Having worked professionally in making and touring experimental performance, he returned to academic study in 1989, completing a PhD investigating the histories and languages of contemporary British experimental performance at Bristol University. He has been teaching at Lancaster since 1991, where he runs undergraduate courses on Avant-Garde Theatre and Contemporary Experimental Performance as well as teaching on practical units.

Andrew is also a founder member of imitating the dog, an Arts Council funded performance company that tours nationally and internationally. His academic work is closely bound up with contemporary art practices and much of his writing on performance, photography and installation investigates concepts of space, play, documentation, scenography and performance ethics.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Frailty of Memory



There comes a time when the function and frailty of memory becomes a preoccupation. Forgetfulness is perversely accompanied by an increased acuity of distant memories. Nostalgia becomes a way of life… a fleeting reflection… an ethereal glimpse of something familiar through the mind’s eye… fragments of memory like shards of mirror… a vision barely visible through the broken glass in the window of time.
 The digital projector is employed as a modern day Camera Obscura to explore Barthes notion of the ‘Punctum’ and the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). The projected image starts with a familiar image that could be carried in the wallet or reside in a well worn family album. The image is initially vivid, nostalgic – the ‘Punctum"’ – but with the passage of time, it decays, leaving an enduring memory – the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). This work considers one of the earliest attempts to explain visual memory, by considering the analogy of Plato's wax tablet, Freud's mystic writing pad and even the modern computer, all of which consider memory as layers.
This is a video taken of my graduation project. In a blacked out space the animation, Fading Memory as seen in my previous post, was projected on to a translucent screen made from tulle behind which was a further much darker version of the image an acrylic sheet so this was also semi translucent. When the animation starts the second image is virtually invisible (difficult to capture this in this video)  as the front image decays more light falls on the back image and as the viewers eyes adapt to the darkness the back image is slowly revealed. 
This installation which was part of my BA (Hons) Fine Art & Professional Practice final show, endeavours to portray the durability of the Photograph compared with the fragility of memory.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fading Memory - Rejected Version



This is  an earlier version of the animation in the previous post showing a fragmentation rather than decay effect. Also the photograph disintegrates in such a way that the facial features are lost first, I felt that this was in appropriate for the effect I was looking for.

Fading Memory - Final Version


With sound

In the lead up to my final graduation show piece I produced a number of variations of this work. My objective was to take a well worn, cherished photograph, in this case one of my mother aged 18, and to create an animation which simulated the photograph decaying.

I experimented with a variety of ways of doing this but ended up using Photoshop, the software I am most familiar with, to create the images and produce the animation.

The rational behind the animation was to simulate on the one hand the fading of a memory and on the other the physical disintegration/decay of the photograph. The original photograph was given a crumpled look and then the animation disintegrated the image in such a way that the vestiges of the image were still recognisable as a face.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fragments of Memory

video
Fragments of Memory - Appropriated film and photographs

Discovering the haunting work of Bill Morrison was a major influence. Using decaying nitrate film stock from the US national film archive Morrison reconstructed footage to create short and feature length films. To create this work I appropriated frames from Morrison's film "Light Calling" and reworked them to include my own images. The objectives were to create a visual complexity as in the previous works, an aesthetic experience from the nostalgic response to cherished photographs and finally to invoke the notion memory that was decaying and fragmenting. The organic fluidity of the images induced an unexpected melancholic dimension to this work.  Working on this piece prompted me to consider the imagery used as a metaphor for the frailty of memory as may be experienced by a dementia sufferer.

The video was shown on a small monitor.

Nostalgic Vision

video
Nostalgic Vision - Mirror, Acrylic, Video

Following on from the idea developed for the year 2 final project I experimented with de-constructing the layers in the video into a physical representation of the idea.

During year 3 I was exploring the relationship between the nostalgic photograph and memory and remembering. The challenge was how to visualise this. I was intrigued by possibility of incorporating the reflection of the viewer as the first layer rather than the torn poster used in the previous project. I experimented with distressed mirror, where part of the reflective surface had been removed. Behind this there was a transparent layer incorporating facial features from a nostalgic photograph. Finally there was a moving image. I experimented with various options but ended up using the same home movie video from the previous project.I was interested to discover that a reflective front element was a feature of Keith Coventry's John Moores winning painting "Spectrum Jesus" .

It was difficult to simulate the viewer experience in this video, because it is not possible to simulate the reflection of the viewer and the fact that the viewer could move to change the point of view through the mirror.

The response of viewers was interesting, most managed to resolve the images after a few moments viewing and commented on the nostalgic response to what was being viewed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Torn Faces

video

During year 3 my enquiry was concerned with the aesthetic experience of urban decay. The work explores the layers of history, the ephemera of urban decay as represented by torn posters or peeling paint and the notion of nostalgia. Torn posters and peeling paint have long been the subject of the aesthetic experience. Many artists have employed such motif in their work, Mimmo Rotella, Raymond Haynes, Jacques de la Villeglé. Such work present a challenge to visual perception as the observer endeavours to translate the fragments and vestiges of overlapping images, the video explores this complex perceptual relationship offered by the duality of the fixed and moving image. In the original installation a reflection of the viewers face provides an additional layer of complexity.

The ghostly moving image with the style of a stilted amateurish home movie provokes memory and a notion of nostalgia of a family event against the fixed ambiguous image of decay and what may appear to be the vestige of a familiar portrait. The changing juxtaposition of the elements invokes uncertainty and questions perception, an allegory for memory and recollection.

This piece of work was created as part of the final project at the end of the second year and initiated a departure in my work from 2D mixed media collage to the moving image.

BA Final Project - Statement

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
Walter Benjamin
There comes a time when the function and frailty of memory becomes a preoccupation. Forgetfulness is perversely accompanied by an increased acuity of distant memories. Nostalgia becomes a way of life… a fleeting reflection… an ethereal glimpse of something familiar through the mind’s eye… fragments of memory like shards of mirror… a vision barely visible through the broken glass in the window of time.
My work comprises of three installations informed by the subject of my dissertation which explores, through concepts derived from neuro-aesthetics, the allegorical relationship between decay, the frailty and function of memory and the influence of nostalgia.
I have chosen to examine this complex relationship through the visual language of moving image and the perishable photograph. In a manner similar to Roland Barthes, the basis for my exploration is a photograph of my mother as a young woman.

The viewer contemplates a visual illusion created by multiple layers of imagery, reflection, transparency and moving image. Richard Gregory used the ‘Dalmatian Dog Illusion’ to illustrate how the brain may resolve visual complexity using genetically hard wired, primitive survival neuro-physiological processes. The installation endeavours to represent the way in which our brains resolve the initial complexity of a visual experience into the familiar. As with Gregory's illusion, once resolved the resultant image cannot be unresolved; the passage of time challenges memory and the ability to resolve complexity.

The digital projector is employed as a modern day Camera Obscura to explore Barthes notion of the ‘Punctum’ and the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). The projected image starts with a familiar image that could be carried in the wallet or reside in a well worn family album. The image is initially vivid, nostalgic – the ‘Punctum"’ – but with the passage of time, it decays, leaving an enduring memory – the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). This work considers one of the earliest attempts to explain visual memory, by considering the analogy of Plato's wax tablet, Freud's mystic writing pad and even the modern computer, all of which consider memory as layers.

The advent of photography offered an obvious metaphor for memory. Once described as the mirror with a memory, paradoxically, the photograph frequently endures when memory fades and fragments. This aspect of my work tries to represent the decay of the familiar into the unfamiliar. The glass surface reflects a familiar portrait whilst the fractures represent the frailty of memory.