The second piece of research i have undertaken is looking at a couple of interactive exhibitions which use mixed media and are experimental from other art work. For this i went to the Tate Modern, London. I decided to look at 2 exhibitions as from looking on the Tate website, the exhibitions pieces looked like they related to the mixed media element of the research we have been set to undertake.
The first exhibition was Francis Alys’s ‘A Story of Deception’. This particular artist experiments with art in many forms through drawing, paintings, objects and video pieces. One particularly experimental piece includes a video recording of him re-enacting walking into a gun shop and then carrying a gun around the streets of Mexico City (which is a re-construction of a real event which he actually did the previous day) Alys stages then re-stages performances which give a political message about society and life in general in Mexico.
Amongst a few of his video pieces includes the quite random action of Alys pushing a big block of ice around the street which has the philosophical subtitle of ‘Sometimes doing something leads to nothing.’ Its these quite simple video pieces that made me think that not all experimental video pieces such as this have to complicated and that they can be more effective without having complicated aspects within them.
One of his more political pieces is called ‘The Green Line’ or as its official title ‘The Leak’, in which he made a hole in a can of paint and walked along the armistice border which was created in 1948 when the war between Jordan and Israel ended creating a green line which represented the seperation fence. The video piece also has the caption of “Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can be poetic”. Through Alys’s radical movement he was putting a message across that was greeted with some negative and positive responses, and these reactions can be heard throughout the piece of Alys’s radical action.
I really like how Alys uses video to put across a message whether it’s political or about society and life in Mexico. There isn’t any complicated aspects to any of his videos and that makes them more powerful in getting the message across. I feel that the theme of power is represented throughout Alys’s pieces whether its the message he is putting across or what he is actually doing within his video pieces, such as the artist pushing a big block of ice through the streets of Mexico.
The second artist who uses mixed media in their work that i looked at for this part of my research was Alejandro Cesarco. This artist looks particularly at the construction of narrative and this can be seen within his artwork using video as his main working medium. The exhibition i went to at the Tate Modern is entitled ‘Present Memory’ and looks at his Father who is recently diagnosed with cancer at the time and a doctor. This intimate look at his Father was filmed within his Doctors practice with a 16mm camera using close up and medium shots. The footage was then projected onto the walls of his Father’s practice and then filmed again to give a ‘projection of a projection’ with which we are shown a constructed and anticipated memory of his Father.
When i went to see this exhibition i had previously read up on what it was about so i didn’t walk in there completely oblivious as to what it would be. I was expecting the ‘projection of a projection’ to be a bit bigger instead of just being projected onto a small space on one of the walls. The video is made up of a series of 3 videos which are located across 3 levels of the gallery in the same position to give a sense of deja vu to the viewer. I can’t really say that i had that sense when i went to each level to view the video piece.
(Image courtesy of Pablo Leon De La Barra on Blogspot)
The artist is said to of created this piece of work as an attempt at dealing with his Father’s absence and the fear of mourning and remembering and most importantly letting go. (www.artfacts.net)
Overall i did find Cesarco’s piece interesting in the sense that he has based a piece on the theme of memory and used his Father as it’s subject. Adding a personal touch to a theme is perhaps the route i shall consider and think about taking for the memory theme and also for the theme of power as inspiration from Francis Alys’s video pieces.
For the first piece of research i went to the Tate Modern in London to look at the Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the Camera exhibition.
The exhibition consists of 5 themes which include:
- The Unseen Photographer
- Celebrity & the Public Gaze
- Voyeurism & Desire
- Witnessing Violence
These are spread across 14 rooms which give a very deep voyeuristic view into the pieces of photographic work.
The Unseen Photographer
The first room of the exhibition consists of the technology which goes as far back as the early 19th century with cameras being hidden in suit jackets, heels of shoes and even walking sticks. The idea of people being viewed and photographed in a secretive manner is the first step in the voyeur phase with the subjects being caught unaware that they are being photographed.
Some of the pieces of photographic work includes Walker Evans’s pieces of passengers on the New York City underground entitles ‘Subway Passengers’, the hidden camera allowed Evans to capture the nautral actions and faces of the passengers. This is an interesting collection as it relates to the modern age with cameras being on mobile phones; which even though we know they are there we still go unaware that the person is actually taking a picture.
The most up-to-date influence of this kind of secret voyeurism is Philip-Lorca Dicorcia’s ‘Heads’ (2000), which used hidden cameras on the streets of New York that were triggered when people walked by.
Celebrity & the Public Gaze
The earliest forms of what is now known as ‘Paparazzi’ started off as early as the start of the 1990’s. The advancement of camera technology meant that figures within the public eye could be captured at their most intimate moments with faster shutter speeds and the size of the camera. The issue of privacy is still a very relevant subject in the world of today.
One of the key figures in capturing the rich and famous at their most vunerable was Italian photographer Giuseppe Primoli who was one of the most controversial papparazzi photographers of the early 1880s.
For modern day standards, photos including Nick Ut’s Paris Hilton ‘crying’ picture; from when she was being sent into prison, is one of the most volatile looks at how privacy can be captured at its worst.
Alison Jackson is a contemporary photographer who stages her photos with the use of celebrity look-a-likes who are posed into a comic fashion at an intimate moment with which we would not see them in.
Voyeurism & Desire
Not all voyeurism is without the subjects permission. This particular theme within the exhibition looks at the open-ness of subjects in very erotic and questionabally private moments with which we are put into a position of whether we should be looking at these images.
Helmut Newton’s ‘Self Portrait with Wife June and models’ is a collection of photographs in which we can see Newton taking the picture of a nude model, but with the added position of his wife June watching, as if in a joint voyeuristically erotic manner.
Perhaps one of the most shocking (in my mind) collection of photos within this theme of the exhibition is Kohei Yoshiyuki’s series of photographs entitled ‘The Park’. The only way to view these images is with a light shining onto the photograph, which gives a sense of voyeuring on the subjects in a very peeping manner. This very weird and unusual Japanses underground park-life phenomenon was the catalyst of Yoshiyuki’s series which put him in a position with which he had to become a voyeur himself.
Out of the themes of photographs, i found this one in particular very interesting. The idea of capturing a moment or series of moments leading to a dramatic conclusion intrigued me as to how the photographers such as Weegee managed to capture a moment with which should make us feel uneasy but instead adds a voyeuristic element to something that shouldn’t be.
Larry Clark’s photographs of drug-takers also had me intrigued as to how he got himself into a position to capture something as intimate and self-harming with which the subject is doing to themselves.
Seen more as being a form of public safety; with the knowledge of being under a watchful eye with which we can be assured of our well being, CCTV has become a subject all to its own with photographers such as Andreas Magdanz using surveillance as its subject with which we would normally never really take much notice of. This form of turning the camera back onto itself gives an interesting insight into the different environments with which CCTV is placed within to be a watchful eye over every action or movement.
Other photographers and artists who have used the power of the surveillance camera and its powerful stance within society include Bruce Nauman who recorded his own personal studio space with which documented some of his other works in progress and was later made into a 7 screen video installation which was described as to “..puts the viewer into the position of a spy or voyeur invading his private working space.” This style of personal surveillance definately puts it into perspective as to how within our own personal environment, we can also be a voyeur of it if we wanted to without the need of cameras but with our own eyes.
Overall, this exhibition has given me some influence as to the different styles with which can be incorporated into creating a piece of visual work. This exhibition featured video (such as Bruce Nauman’s ‘Mapping the Studio’) and photography, which are both mediums with which i have worked with before and would definatley consider using for a production piece. I feel that this exhibition has many different elements that relate to the theme of voyeurism with the many styles and presentation of the pieces and i should take this and incorporate into my ideas and develop on these.
Over the summer (if you can call it that!) we have been set to undertake research in preparation for the start of our 3rd and final year studying Media Production.
1. Festival Research –The first piece of research we have been set is to go a festival (of any kind) and research how media practitioneers use these to showcase their pieces of work. This first piece of research work coincides with me going to a festival next month called Bestival in the Isle Of Wight. This festival will give me the opportunity to undertake this research and post my findings on a future blog.
2. Themed Research –We have been given three themes/words in which to explore the people, places and work that are connected with these themes and how they are worked through in the different types of media that we look at. These themes are also to create ideas around in any media form which we would possibly produce for a media piece. These themes are:
My first initial impressions & interpretations of these words didnt really spring any ideas into my mind straight away, but undertaking research (which i shall list as to what i shall be researching) will help get some soild ideas into my mind for these themes.
Points of research will include:
Tate Modern, London
I am looking forward to undertaking research at an art gallery as it has been quite a while since i last went to view work at a gallery or even the Tate. I want to take a step away from the broadcast side of media production and explore the less studio based side of media work and gain a fresh perspective of the ways in which it can be shown.
EXPOSED – Voyeurism, Surveillance & the Camera
This recommended exhibition looks at surveillance and the idea that we are always being watched with the increase of CCTV, camera phones and ways of accessing images whether through Youtube or just a Google search- We can access pretty much view any image we can possibly think of, there is no limit to what we can view.
The Exposed exhibition consists of photographs that have been taken of subjects without permission and the exposure of celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Marilyn Monroe and Richard Branson being viewed in a defenseless manner in which they do not know that they are being captured on camera. This reveals a different view of familar faces as taken by the ‘unseen photographer’ and brings to light subjects such as privacy and freedom of the media.
Experimental Artwork (installations, performance or mixed media)
(note: also at the Tate Modern, London…)
Alejandro Cesarco. Present Memory
I shall be looking at this exhibition as it is a form of experimental artwork in which gives a vivid visual picture instead of just paint on a canvas and works to the brief of research which wants us to go and access a gallery that has innovative, experimental artwork with installations, performance or mixed media. This exhibition also relates to the theme of memory and how this is shown visually.
This exhibition is formed of mixed media with the artist having originally filming his father in his medical practise (his father was diagnosed with cancer and also a doctor) with a 16mm camera and later projecting the video onto the same room in which he filmed his father and recording the film screening with a video camera. Being described as a ‘projection of a projection’, the viewer is given a sense of deja vu whenever they encounter the visual piece with the repetition creating a ‘visual echo’ in which we explore the both constructed and anticipated memory of the artists father.
Francis Alys. A Story of Deception
I want to look at this exhibition as it follows on from the experimental/mixed media forms of artwork but also relates to the theme of spectacle and power. The forms of media within this exhibiton includes proejction and film with the artist also putting his art across postcards, drawings and also painting.
The exhibition looks at actions such as a man pushing a big block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it completely melts into nothing. Another piece shows 500 volunteers walking over a big sand dune in Peru where they dig with spades and move the dune a few centimetres as they go. The spectacle and power of just these two pieces of Alys’s work intrigues me as to how this is captured in a media form, whether through video or photography.
I want to research and explore independant film (‘indie’ – for short) and also foreign film, as these are a type of film which i have never previously researched into. With my main interests for film being the latest cinema blockbusters such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ as well as the typical well-known films, i want to look at other types of film in which i can gain a fresh view and to influence me creatively.
For this i shall look at ‘indie’ films such as Gus Van Sant’s ‘Elephant’ and also foreign film such as Michel Gondry’s ‘The Science of Sleep.’
The last focal point of research i shall be undertaking is looking at a fine art exhibition and following through the thought process of the artist.
For this i have decided to research into Salvador Dali (whom a few of his pieces were on display at the Tate), and i want to look into how he created such spectacular and bizarre (it has to be said!) surrealist pieces of work.
I also want to look at Edward Hopper and how his vision of America translated onto canvas.
Overall i feel that undertaking these aspects of research for both art and film will give me a fresh perspective into creating some ideas which i could potentially take into production.
Keep posted on my blog!