Monday, 28 January 2008

Compact cameras have arrived at That Stage

25/1/08 The Guardian

Extract from ;

Compact cameras have arrived at That Stage

Column “Dork Talk” published on Saturday January 26th 2008 in The Guardian
“Compact cameras have arrived at That Stage - The Guardian headline

"I am in the jungle, filming in the heart of Amazonia. Not much room in my backpack for mobile phones, game consoles or laptops but just enough for a pair of compact cameras with which to attempt to capture the nuanced colourations of the red howler monkey, the pink river dolphin, the scarlet mosquito bite and the purple leech gash. I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-T200 and a Casio EX-S880, two cameras crammed to point of madness with the latest innovations in digital photography."

this article by Stephen Fry goes on to talk about 'face recognition' and 'smile capture' plus other uncessary functions trying to tease and lure you to buy a new digital camera when in fact, your current one is probably still just fine- all a desperate attempt to be one step ahead;
this absurdity also written about here;

Say Cheese: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 camera waits for your smile before it snaps you

the idea of overloaded and unecessary fuctions fascinates me, maybe even making switches and buttons on technology that really do not actually have a function but just look pretty-kid in a sweet shop. [also i am amused by the fact that although my archos 605 isnt as sexy it outperforms the ipod touch hahahahahaha dominic!!;

The touch alternative: The only player capable of beating the iPod touch at the moment is the Archos 605 WiFi. With capacities up to 160GB, a massive touch-sensitive screen, full Web browsing via Wi-Fi, excellent sound quality and support for DVD-quality video, the 605 is an absolute killer gadget. The touch may score top marks for elegance, but with 10-times the capacity and a larger screen, Archos owns the only potential 'touch killer'.]

in looking to the fondness i have for my holga, pentax K1000, pinhole polaroid,what i love is their non gimmicky honesty and lack of pretensiousness. you use them to take pictures! - what they say on the tin, no thick manual required.the inventiveness i can bring to them, offered by their simplicity is great, however subversively i am also slightly attracted to the alluringness offered by meaningless fuctions in high end gadgets too..hmmmmmm lets look back at my archos for one and see what it can do that appears 'useless' and also its not supposed to do- uploading to youtube.....

sian robinson davies video/performance/objects

artists who explores language and objects through performance, like the above ground video making a boat out of the word boat and setting it sail....

Monday, 7 January 2008

Research Proposal - Performing Stories: Disruption of time based media practice

Research Proposal

Working Title:

Performing Stories: Disruption of time based media practice

According to Michael Kirby, in The New Theatre, (Kirby, 1965) the non-matrixed theatre performance model places emphasis on time and not on the traditional theatre of narrative and character, allowing for performances using a variety of materials borrowed from art, most commonly witnessed in the Happenings of Allan Kaprow, (1958-66.) Happenings drew from real life and unfold peformatively in compartments or discrete alogical events; the spectators are participants performing within a given frame work experiencing the act of making. (Kirby, 1965.)

It is understood that the exploration of time in photography, through exposure, is a necessity to achieve a desired tonal balance in a photographic image. However, in considering photography performing interdisciplinarily within the remit of non-matrixed theatre, there is traditionally a technical emphasis on a frozen moment creating a photograph, set against a duration over a given period for a performance. This gives rise to the issues of documenting liveness, they cannot be one and the same thing; the work of Hayley Newman, Connotations-Performance Images (1994-1998) exploits this by exhibiting photographs of performances that actually never happened, adopting the “mannerisms of an archive” (Heathfield, 2004). In looking at interdisciplinary visual non-matrixed performance, the issues of mediated liveness I wish to pursue further and relate to the work of Phillip Auslander, Gunter Berghaus and others in addressing the synthetic presence of absence in the, according to Auslander, relationship between the Live and Mediatized within a performance, specifically when using different forms of time based media (Auslander, 1999.)

In the Performed Photography work of Paul Jeff, in which he feels he is, “Bored of the ‘spatial’ picture making that has thus far mainly defined photographic practice,” (Jeff, 2007) he concerns himself with a merging of the traditional artefact ‘image’ of photography as the sole viewer experience of this medium, with a witness to and/or participation in, the photographic act inherent in the process, displaying how he, ”…makes a subtle and also contemporary shift towards intervention and fiction and away from the phenomenon of empirical observation.” (Jeff, 2007). This also demonstrates Jeff’s’ desire to extend the time taken for the act of photography through a prolonged engagement with it, making it a durational performative event. In Polis, (2006) audience members are invited as witnesses to performances in a series of night time events in bars and clubs around Cardiff, UK recording staged encounters and situations based on normal club activities, themselves on their cameras, but also receiving a copy of the Polaroids that Jeff takes. Witnesses are then taken back to studios to assemble all the photos taken and thus reveal the visual slippage of the same event through subjective responses to it. The witnesses become strangers to places once possibly familiar, taking photos of people they don’t know as if they did. Audience members and Jeff are therefore co-authors in the performative act of recording, the experience and relayed memories of the taking photos and the resultant outcome becomes, as Jeff explains, singularly the artwork.

In contrast, in Tino Sehgals work as a visual artist there is no physical artwork, i.e. no visual documentation, no materiality, only the memories of the participants based on a singular or collective experience as relayed by actors on behalf of Sehgal. In his work This objective of that object (2004, ICA) a viewer in an empty gallery space is surrounded by 5 people talking to the viewer to prompt a discussion, failure to do this or the entrance of another viewer and the work ends and moves to the next person. Lucy Steeds (Steeds, 2005) in Art Monthly, describes how Sehgal's artwork never becomes, “….enduring traces.” The artwork, like in Jeff’s work, concerns the viewer as participant to exist, explores social interactions within process, but with the marked difference being no art object ever exists in Sehgal's work.

To look at how both Sehgal and Jeff (and the others to follow) are intrinsic in my critical thinking, I need to look first to Barthes in Camera Lucida (Barthes, 1980) to see how he describes what is unique about the experience of viewing photographs, using the notion of the ‘trace’ to discuss photographs as witnesses of ‘what has been’, and his issues of, “Life/Death: the paradigm [of picture taking] is reduced to a simple click, the one separating the initial pose from the final print.” (Barthes, 1980:92 ) He goes on to describe how the photographic image, being that it uses paper and that paper is perishable, it is mortal and is, “…Attacked by light, by humidity, it fades, weakens, vanishes, there is nothing left to do but throw it away.” (Barthes, 1980: 93). So here we see how Barthes understands photography as temporal, existing only to represent the moment, which has already passed.

Other key photographers directly exploring photography-performance relationships include Peter Richards and Julia Bardsley, both exploring the early image making technique of pinhole photography in very different performative ways. In Bardsleys work, Trans-Acts, she, “…forges an intimate dialogue between the audience and the performer, the artist and the creative process, live presence and the visual art object.”( Julia Bardsley website, 2006) This performance staged at Shunt Vaults, London, Spill Festival 2007, described as an exhibition, installation and performance in three acts, using pinhole photography as, according to Bardsley, “little theatres, little shows,” as exhibit and installation. This is to represent the passing of time in her Foolish suicide attempts in Act One, allowed by the long exposures pinhole image making requires, leaving a ghostly trace of the body moving through space. This was used alongside film both pre-recorded and live and the notion of ‘self as double’. (Bardsley lecture, 2007).

In Peter Richards Pinhole photography work, The History of Performance Art, in 1998, in which he which he builds a giant Pinhole Camera to record invited participants dressed for the camera as a key figure of choice from the history of performance art, Richards examines the dissolving of boundaries between photography and performance where, according to Sofaer, in Conflict of interest, Performance as a Spectator Sport, (Soafer website, 2007) Richards presents photographic image as artefact that is made during performance and which survives it to be viewed in the site of the event a day later. Sofaer states, “The giant cardboard obscura [is]site (as the stage in theatre) and source (the text - the actors) of the work.”

In a digital age and thus changing face of photographic practice giving rise to the closure of many traditional darkrooms, the reinvention of, for example, traditional wet photographic processing through non-matrixed theatre gives to me many possibilities; the entire consumption of the photograph for example testing Sehgals and Barthes methodologies. How does high and low media arts technology work within non-matrixed performance (Happenings, Fluxus?), both together and alone? Referencing technological advancements, how can digital processes destroy traditional ones? In looking for a theme to explore beyond mere disruption or subversion of photography and time based media that works with the same structure and ideals, I am potentially interested in Fractured narratives in Storytelling (orally, and as mediated through objects and images)- both photography and storytelling are commonplace in working with the denoting of fact from fiction; the fictitious Untitled Film Stills of Cindy Sherman (circa 1977) posed as real life film photographic stills, as well as Hayley Newman mentioned previously and the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players who create performances that, “Interpret the Lives of the Strangers [within found vintage slide collections.]” (Burgess, 2007.)

In conclusion, my research areas are identified through the intended rubric for my practice below;

1. A viewer/participant who offers their subjectivity (personal artefact, story etc) as material for the work

2. An artist/performer (me and participants in co-authorship or participants via instructions) who articulates this subjectivity through time based media

3. An object, artwork, outcome is created, OR the participants sense that their experience has been objectified.

Annotated bibliography for research proposal

Annotated bibliography- Articles, books, websites

Bardsley, J., 19/11/07 lecture at Wimbledon College of Art.

Bardsley discussed chronologically a range of issues and projects she has explored.

Bardsley, J., 2007. Julia Bardsley website accessed on 3/1/08

Barthes, R., 1980. Vintage ed. Camera Lucida, London: Vintage.

  • theoretical and critical examination of photography exploring the nature and thus inherent problems and interpretations of photography being cited a model of objective truth, including examining the relationship between photography and theatre and the ‘death of the image.’

Burgess, M, 23 August 2007. Trachtenberg Family Slideshow players accessed on 3/1/08

Article reviewing a performance of their work and explaining their concepts.

FrenchMottershead- 2007, FrenchMottershead website accessed on 1/2/08

Information about all their participation projects exploring social engagements, such as Borrow Me, and Shops.

Gilles M., 1997. Photo Speak, Abbeville Press, London.

Guide to the ideas, techniques, and movements of photography 1839 to the present day.

Hall, J., 15 December 2004. The Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, Soho Theatre, London accessed on 3/1/08

Discusses the band who are "an indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band" who "take vintage slide-collections found at estate sales, garage sales, thrift stores etc, and turn the lives of anonymous strangers into pop-rock musical exposés."

Heathfield, A., 2004, Live Art and Performance, Tate, London

Survey of issues and ideas in contemporary practice. Includes Hayley Newman who fabricates performance by creating photos of a non-existent event.

Jeff, P., 2007, Paul Jeff website accessed on 3/1/08

Kaye, N., 1998, Art into theatre, Harwood academic Publishers, Singapore.

Exploring how art fuses with theatre including experimental practitioners Station House Opera.

Kirby, M, Winter 1965, The New Theatre, in The Tulane Drama Review, MIT Press, USA

Essay discussing non-matrixed theatre with reference to key practitioners in happenings and fluxus, e.g. John Cage, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg.

Speed, L., March 2005, Tino Sehgal, Art Monthly, London, UK accessed on 3/1/08

Article about Tino Sehgal- Devises instructions for others to perform, visual artist with no visual outcome. Work entirely exists only as an experience- no documentation

Sofaer, J., Spring 2000, Conflict of interest, Performance as a Spectator Sport accessed on 3/1/08

Article discussing the theatricality within the pinhole performance work of Peter Richards which Sofaer took part in.

Annotated bibliography- Performances/Exhibitions

Adamsdale, Will. Human Computer BAC, November 2007- “Cardboard cabaret stories.”

Bardsley, Julia.-Trans-Acts, April 2007, Spill Festival, Shunt Vaults, London. “Trans-Acts forges an intimate dialogue between the audience & the performer, the artist & the creative process, live presence & the visual art object.” Exploring using pinhole photography in different ways and live presence and video thorough dialogue.

Complicite- A Disappearing Number, Barbican, London, September 2007.

Exploration of the real and virtual, screen based image telling stories through becoming performer/action.

Smith, Caroline. Spank, Antenna Studios, Crystal Palace, UK, September 2007, and Intimacy Symposium, Goldsmiths College, December 2007. Real and virtual performer storytelling bringing together the autobiographical and the historical, using objects to tell stories.

Playback theatre- Untitled, Candid Arts café, Islington, November 2007.

Storytelling as therapy inviting audience members to share stories to then be played back by a team of actors. Focuses on the feelings and uses metaphors to aid depicting emotions. This event asked for short and then longer stories about what people were doing at 10o’clock that morning.

Playback theatre- In the blink of an eye, Newtown theatre, Sydney, November 2007.

Same idea as at Candid Arts but with a set theme and longer storytelling. Stories revealed included one audience member telling the story of, “the day I got my diagnosis aged 18 for MS.”

World as a Stage, Tate Modern, London, November 2007.

Included work exploring theatre and art practice, including Tino Sehgal, Jeremy Deller.

Intended bibliography Research proposal

Intended Bibliography

Auslander, P., 1999, Liveness Performance in a Mediatized Culture Routledge, UK

Baker, B. & Barrett, M., Bobby Baker: Redeeming features of daily life, (London, Routledge, 2007) Uses stories to play out everyday life events.

Bishop, C., 2006, Participation, Whitechapel MIT Press, London

Berghaus, G., 2005, Avant-Garde Performance: Live events and electronic technologies, Palgrave MacMillan, UK

Chapple, F., and Kattenbelt, C., 2007, Intermediality in Theatre and Performance, Rodopi, New York

Dixon, S., 2007, Digital Performance, MIT Press, Massachusetts

Gade, R., Jerslev, A., 2005. Performative Realism, Interdisciplinary studies in Art and Media, Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Pippin, Steven 1999 Turner Prize shortlist announced, Steven Pippin, 3/6/99.

accessed on 3/1/08

Web page discussing Pippin’s work in the context of being a Turner prize nominee in 1999, including looking at the pinhole camera container matching the nature of the subject photographed.

Paper Cinema-

Shadow puppets telling mythical stories, adopted through, tales of Edward Allen Poe in Masque of the Red Death, Punch Drunk., and 18/1/08, at the Luminaire, Kilburn.

Stand up comedy+ Cabaret- hyped up/embellished storytelling

Plan B, 2007 Plan B website Accessed on 3/1/08

Performance group exploring stories and video.