It became apparent as I was heading towards the fourth video in this series that I would need more time to complete the last video. Since I had set the goal of posting a rough cut video artwork every two weeks, instead of giving up or posting a very rushed video work I am posting a video that is a discussion about the topic of art medium and it's shaping of our society.
The work had been planned to explore this subject through a little stop-go story about a man made of chalk who wanted to walk in a 3D world, he was so determined that he discovered how to turn himself into paper and then clay! Once he was able to step foot in the 3D world he wandered through the grass and found a tree. Once he had seen the tree now he wanted to know what it was like to be up in the tree. It was hard work but he was helped with some inspiration from above and he managed to find a way to climb the tree. Now he looked down and saw the chalk garden where he came from. I might still make this work but I am also considering leaving it as artwork in three parts.
These works are part of a larger site specific exhibition in a garden setting. The final show will be a combination of large interactive installations, smaller sound works and the three (or four) video works projected onto various surfaces in the garden.
I hope the video is somewhat engaging and I would love to hear about other opinions on how out society has been shaped, positive or negative by today's technology and mediums.
Strate, L. (2008) Studying media as media: McLuhan and the media ecology approach. Media Tropes, 1, 127-142. Retrieved from http://www.mediatropes.com/index.php/Mediatropes/issue/view/174
Fuller, M. (2005). [Introduction]. In Media ecologies (pp. 1-5). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Shaefer, R, M. (1977) The Tuning of the World. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, Canada
Existen muchas cosas que un baño de agua caliente no puede curar. Pero mirar el agua correr y ver como se lleva muchas tristezas, decepciones, desalientos, frustraciones e incluso lágrimas que irán a parar a la inmensidad del mar, donde todo se diluye y pasa al olvido, es una verdadera sanidad...
Que tengan amorosos sueños y un sereno descanso bajo la protección de Dios.
In the frame of Ciclop Festival at Sineu town, Espai Sant Marc offers the possibility to see for the first time the first video of the Les performers group. Victoria G. Masdeu, Marga Rotger, Leticia María, Olga García, and Marta Font join this performance research group. Forats is the name of this video performance that they will show at Espai sant Marc on Friday 10th (18-20 h) and Saturday 11th (18-21h) of September.
In a coast scene, you can see 5 silhouettes in front of the sea: people dressed in black with 5 white sticks, drawing lines in a path over the sand. Each player makes their own line, path, drawing with the stick or pinning holes, hence the name of the piece. The video will be accompany with 5 headphones with different sounds, which in some way allow a dive into the individual of each of the performers.
This video work is an exploration of the visceral and cathartic possibilities through embodied experiences of nostalgia and magical realism.
My original concept for this video work was to explore the aesthetics of gender and the performative nature of self expression. However I received feedback from several friends and colleagues who viewed previous works being developed for this series who said they were not sure what I was trying to say with the imagery. They both felt a narrative connection was not clear. Although it was not my intention to create a clear narrative I wondered perhaps if the work was muddying the line between narrative and non-narrative based assemblage (Rizzo, T. 2012) and in doing so creating a nullifying effect on both. Leaving some viewers with neither a clear narrative nor a purely abstract embodied experience. The concept for the gender aesthetics involved a number of interviews and out of town filming, a similar scope and planned structure to the first two works, possibly ending up with a similar outcome. As an experiment I decided to create a different kind of work accentuating the abstract through simplifying my subject matter and prioritising an opportunity for viscerality and private affect.
Getting my feet wet at the shoreline of what is a vast ocean I became quite overwhelmed looking into the nature of aesthetics and affect. My personal interpretation of this work represents the tip of the iceberg of what seems to be an undefinable and infinitely subjective field of enquiry. I question how one can semantically delineate something which is a bodily experience and thus in “conceptual opposition” (O'Sullivan, S. 2001). Creating language to approach such a subject has the potential to frustrate its meaning (O’Sullivan, S. 2001) although this does not stop the many stimulating theories from being valuable. Perhaps in an attempt to reconcile the contradictions there is the scientific lens of affect, an area which I am not focusing on with this work but acknowledge its existance as an interesting way to bridge the gap. The interactive map of emotions created by Doctoral student Alan S. Cowen and Prof. Dacher Keltner, PhD whilst a thought provoking example of such a bridging attempt suggests semantic spaces have fallen short of visually representing the nuances and interconnectedness of the human emotional landscape (Perry, P. 2017) which appears to be another self contradiction being in itself a semantic space. I question if emotions can accurately be defined in language through adding visual stimuli and gradients in between the suggested key emotions therein, again contradicting the corporeal aspect that opposes finite definition (O’Sullivan, S. 2001) averting true meaning. Although this study has merit in that affect cannot be viewed purely from a semantic or semiotic tonality due to the undefinable and ultimately subjective nature of an individual's emotional experience. O’Sullivan supports Philosopher Brian Massumi’s view that a semiotic or semantic interpretation of affect can only ever be symbolic and quotes his statement; “What they lose, precisely, is the event – in favour of structure” . These like forces arguably cannot account for the visceral moment.
Attempting to find some reconciliation I was again faced with new arguments of the interconnectedness of aesthetics and affect. Considering art as autonomous and cultivating moments of affect only experienced fully on reflection (O’Sullivan, S. 2001) therefore accentuating a non-temporal intensity and value. O’Sullivan proposes Adorno’s theory moves towards a concept of aesthetics being deceptive and unavoidably disappointing through attempting to represent an unachievable reality. Moving away from this negative aesthetic is a reconfiguration (O’Sullivan, S. 2001) toward the act of representing as an endeavour toward contemplation and meaning.
Ruminating on my own creative practice’s aesthetic tendencies several themes have emerged. Magical Realism is a landscape I return to often in order to comment on social constructs and attempt a certain mood allowing for audience contemplation through a partial removal from familiar spaces.
Magical Realism being in itself an oxymoron (Benito, J. 2009) the style of the video work itself is reminiscent of the contradictions within affect theories emitting a meta undertone.
Beginning with the actual construction of the small set used in the work I have created an assemblage of items symbolising the characters’ inner world. Through the juxtaposition (Bennito, J. 2009) of items reminiscent of times outside of the temporal experience but recognizable to the viewer, such as the old medicine bottles and indications of known and unknown medicinal herbs and plants, with items positing nostalgic reference to times of analogue technology, such as the headphones, communications device and cassette tapes.
Literature theorist and researcher Sapna Bhalla proposes in her study of Magical Realism that through hybridity and converging multiple planes it is possible to “create a deep and true reality” . The hybridity in this work is created through the inharmonious (Bhalla, S. 2018) objects curated and filmed to evoke moments of questioning and a tone of disembodied magic. The character which engages with the set appears humanlike and is equally imbued with an element of creatureality by rupturing the deeply human concept of “eyes are the gateway to the soul”. By subtly modifying the eye area of the face away from humanity the soul of this body becomes creature like, reinforcing the incongruous and hopefully urging an intensity.
Augmenting the material environment is the use of light and colour. Drawing on the sensation of blackness and perception of grey, not as a reflection of early colour theory in which blackness was broadly viewed as an experience of no sensation (Ladd-Franklin, C. 1929) but leaning towards Goethe’s concept of blackness as an active ingredient in the light spectrum with its own sensation (Goethe 1941) offering a potentiality for the viewer to experience a sense of privation (Goethe 1941). Blackness is used as a contrasting element to the adjacent colours, subdued through grey values, mimicking the infinite “hues” of affect theory.
The central focus of this video work is a visual assemblage of the installation. The body interacting with it is an extension of the installation and the installation is an extension of the body. In his discussion of literary and critical theorist Julia Kisteva’s writings about aesthetics, O’Sullivan presents her concept of the installation as a space of “incarnation” which he supports by quoting philosopher Alain Badiou’s articulation of “an event site”. A tonal space with possibilities of meaning, in this case nostalgia with sub tones of melancholy as an empathetic embodiment creating possibilities of autonomic emotional response. Nostalgia, once thought to be an experience which could have a negative effect psychologically, was found by researchers doing a collaborative international study of the subject in 2011 to have the capability to fulfil deficits in existential meaning (Wildschut, T. et al 2011) which is my hope to offer with this video work.
Whilst understood that nostalgia is subjective and will be experienced by way of varying stimuli based on a person’s socio-cultural make-up, through attempting a nostalgic quality in the work it becomes an experiment moving toward Walter Bejamin’s “messianic time”, moments of affect immediately over once experienced but instilled by reflection.
I hope this work can take you on a little journey slightly out of time and place, evoke feelings and provide little moments of meaning or reflection.
O'Sullivan, S. (2001). The aesthetics of affect: Thinking art beyond representation. Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities, 6(3), pp. 125-135.
Caygill, H. (1998). Walter Benjamin : The colour of experience. Taylor & Francis Group.
Mourenza, D. (2020). Walter Benjamin and the aesthetics of film. Amsterdam University Press.
Rizzo, T. (2012). Deleuze and Film: A Feminist Introduction. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Perry, P (2017). Article. Online Magazine Neuropsych Scientists Chart 27 Distinct Human Emotions on This Interactive Map. Retrieved from
Benito, J., Manzanas, A.M., Simall, B. (2009). Uncertain Mirrors : Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures, BRILL, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sae/detail.action?docID=556624.
Created from sae on 2022-04-09 04:38:00.
Bhalla, S. (2018) Magic Realism Aesthetic Blend of Magical and Realistic Elements in PostModern Fiction, Volume 5, Issue 7 Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research. Retrieved from www.jetir.org (ISSN-2349-5162)
Ladd-Franklin, C. (1929) Colour and Colour Theories, Routledge, Trench, Trubner & Co.
Goethe, J. W. (1840) Theory of Colours. John Murray; London
McLaverty-Robinson, A. (2013) Walter Benjamin: Messianism and Revolution - Theses on History; Online Magazine; Ceasefire. Retrieved from https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/walter-benjamin-messianism-revolution-theses-history/#:~:text=He%20suggests%20that%20the%20'messianic,in%20spirit%20to%20past%20revolts
Solo sacude tu cabeza de los pájaros que han querido anidar en ella. Algunos tienen nombre y otros no son descubiertos. Algunos se llaman frustración, otros desaliento, otros miedo, otros sufrimiento, otros enojo, rabia y desazón. Imagínate los que no sabemos y se meten en la cabeza a través de los medios de comunicación y mensajes subliminales, ondas de wi fi y explosiones solares.
Sacúdete fuerte, fuerte y descansa en las manos de Dios, nada de eso nos pertenece.