Sunday, 17 August 2008

the photography side of the shed

ok- need to just reflect as in the mania of shed building am needing to just clarify/question my thinking on the photography side of the fence :)

  • introducing nanny- cat photos. considering how an image is given status/made precious through framing or putting in an album; here i am to introduce nanny through a photo taken from a pile with a rubber band round it and place in front of the audience giving a sense of ambiguity- is this my nan/who she wanted to be/who i wanted her to be or how i saw her or is it unknown- saying how the context completes the 'utterance' (burgin) and what happens when this is not factually stated
  • erasing the cat wreath image in a family album. the photo was the iconic thing that caused me the sadness, guilt and embarrassment in the story i no longer wish to be reminded of. by this erasing of the record of the photograph of the cat wreath, questioning, due to a traditional assumption about photography, whether it happened, i have removed its presence (barthes.) the photograph was created as an aide memoire as an iconic document to hold onto of nanny's last request although the floral realisation of that request was not i would have thought as she would have wanted for people to have laughed at it, felt uncomfortable by it. this is doubled up with the fact that aunty joan was taking photos at a funeral which is highly inappropriate as a private event. Removal of image through nail varnish remover in a nan bottle with nan handkerchief- appropriate tools to do this act as nanny would not have wished it her request to have caused pain. this makes photography temporal not surviving the performance. as though that was the last utterance of that memory. the being amongst strangers sharing something so intimate is interesting- a forced intimacy- i need to be aware of this in part two making sure people only feel they say what they would like to share and don't feel pressurised- needs further thinking. some may choose to say who the flower reminds them of and little else which is fine.
  • camera obscura to shift the audience's perceptions from being immersed inside my sharing of nanny story in the big shed to the real time world beyond when i'm in the little shed and outside sharing granddad's story. discovering the magic of light forming an image, as though stumbled across in a knot in the wood, it doesn't feel photographic as such, its the marvels of light like a rainbow (although technically realising this as appearing such a simple thing is proving hard and could be rather false and not like a real discovery.)
there are a few issues here to work on which i am realising rather late in the day- arrghhh:

that the inversion of the image through the hand held mirror by participant is too problematic- if they can't do it this section of the performance is lost and need a more finite way of doing this that will always work. adapting/using principles of the SLR pentaprism/pentamirror as though a box which could be placed on the wall. am working on this box idea to test out next week. i like the idea of it being like a shed scientist- reusing old bits of broken camera though :)

the handkerchief idea may need to go??? am working on the idea of a piece of hung muslin like a tent door held up with ties in the ceiling above where i was sitting, which is undone and flops down. needs weighting on the floor, maybe a guide on the floor to ensure the image is crisp? at what point does the screen happen? the least left to chance idea is that i set it all up before i leave, but this means less of the ideas about creativity, discovery in sheds, and imposed conviviality amongst strangers working as a team (!) which i liked.however, i could maybe set it up, with a cat photo stuck on a post in the floor outside in front of the hole which projects onto the screen, which i then remove from the outside of the shed when i leave- from photographic past into the real, moving present??? how important is it that the participant controls the photographic element here? there is also the issue of time, things left to chance invariably add time. this needs setting up and rehearsing. the temporal projected image disappears when the door opens- the moment has passed.

  • part two feels photographically like old ground from previous shows- image not fixed, temporal, it dies. however, this time, the image is developed through shed technology, old jar of solution and paintbrush, with a battery operated lantern and safelight- no electricity. the mortality of the image (barthes) and the suspended life of the flower temporarily removed from its pot to be replanted, continuing to grow, whilst the photogram image, its shadow, dies reacting to light. i like the fact that this is outside so the light will cause the images to fade quicker than for example at the nunnery show on the wall, so throughout the duration of the show the array of flower images will fade- a good one to document, maybe time lapse alongside the lifecycle of the flower ;) the areas for consideration with this part two is how to frame the experience (make a floral tribute or story about a flower?) match the mood to part one (eg cat presence),flowers to choose, how to replant with ties, sticks,naming etc
not sure all this sounds coherent or practical-am trying to get things clearer before heading to cardiff to interview paul jeff. comments on this post especially welcome :)

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