Day 1, Stream 5
David Colangelo: Ryerson University, Canada
Ryszard Dabek: Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Australia
Ricardo Rivera: Universidad De Caldas, Colombia
Oliver Case: HighWire, Lancaster University, UK
Paul Sermon: School of Art & Design, University of Salford, UK
Charlotte Gould: School of Art & Design, University of Salford, UK
Martine Corompt: RMIT University, Australia
David Colangelo & Patricio Davila: Walking The Line: Sensing transformations in suburban space through public interactivity
To what degree can the creative use of technology enable highly specific, deeply embodied experiences that both express and ameliorate the shocks of ‘media cities’ (McQuire 2008) today? With The Line, the third in a series of research-creation (Smith and Dean 2009) works, we continue to explore this question and, more broadly, the role of digital media in shaping our relationship with public space, architecture, and data. The Line consists of a video database of lines at various scales (a line in the earth, a sidewalk, a fence, a road, a row of houses, a strip mall, a highway, a border, the flightpath of a jet plane, etc.) projected onto a 10-metre long snow fence. By sensing proximity to the fence, the system will enable viewers to recombine segments from this database to create a composite image. The Line will be included in Land | Slide : Possible Futures, a site-specific art exhibition in Markham, Ontario that aims to encourage a collective conversation around the future of land use. This project tests theoretical claims about the effects of interactive architectural public displays — namely, the increased transversality of identity and subjectivity (Murphie 2004), the re-embodiment of the experience of media that sees the body less as a point in a perspectival system and more as a vector in space (Hansen 2004), and the radical contingency (Harbord 2007) of surface effects experienced in public space. By deploying a phenomenological approach through various perceptual scales and levels of access to what is otherwise an organising principle, motif, and tool for arranging humans, objects and environments, we hope to afford participants the opportunity to sense their relationship to the line and its connection to environmental, social, political, technological, and human systems (Latour 2005, Rancière 2000).
Ryszard Dabek: Re:cinema
This paper considers the moving image as a defining form of the contemporary age, a form that operates and circulates by constantly evolving and mutating logic. It is a logic that is at once driven by, and embedded in, the prevailing state of technological flux. Rather than settling around the relatively stable formal and ontological parameters of the historical forms of cinema and television, the moving image is now defined by its fragmentation, ubiquity and volatility. That these phenomena are often accompanied by a pervading sense of irrationality and new, barely graspable forms of affect are of primary interest to this investigation. If affect in the contemporary sense has, as Brian Massumi observed, become unqualified and unrecognisable, how then do we approach the possibilities of the contemporary moving image? With this question in this mind I propose to look at the very embeddedness of historical forms within the contemporary moving image-scape. To this end the idea of the ‘cinematic’ is evoked not as a totalising system, but rather as a persistent conceptual and visual presence that informs contemporary moving image production and artistic inquiry. Examining a range of forms, from participatory media platforms like YouTube to installation-based video art, I will consider how the intensification of affect that these forms engender are enabled and activated through fragmented, though none-the-less, cinematic means. In this sense the cinematic itself is to be considered as a trace element, a diffuse presence that permeates the contemporary moving image in diverse and often obscured ways. It should be foregrounded that this paper is not concerned with attempting to redefine the idea of the cinematic (or vis-á-vis the cinema), but rather with examining the contours of its presence. I offer a brief inventory of these ‘cinematic’ traces: spectacle/hallucination spectatorship/identification materiality/immateriality genre narrative performance light.
Ricardo Rivera: Cinematic experiences and the digital moving image
This research arises from the debate related to the nature of cinema being closely linked and defined by its film support, according to which its permanence in time would be in danger as a result of the introduction of the digital. It also discusses whether new forms of digitally mediated moving image, such as interactive CD-ROMs, art installations and net art, can be considered new forms of cinema. With this purpose, cinema’s historical background is studied in order to determine its origins and identify the essential in the cinematographic experience. Cinema is found to be born with the cinematograph, and this invention, along with the notions of industrialisation and entertainment, defines its nature. It is concluded in this study that if the introduction of the digital does not alter the cinematographic device, neither transform nor change any of the essential features of the cinema, then the production of digital moving image will not affect the cinema essence. Otherwise, the state of simulation will move to exploration, enabled by the digital features of the moving image, and we will have to stop talking about cinema to make way for the cinematic experiences concept proposed in this research, defined as moving image production, digitally mediated, potentially requiring action seeking its essence in the awareness of movement and visual rhythms. In the aesthetics of cinematic experiences, camera is no longer needed as the main production device of the moving image; the Renaissance frame and the dark room are exceeded as the ideal projection place of these images; notions of narrative, mounting and framing are no longer primordial; and spectators can become spectators-actors, involved in the visual proposal or interacting with digital characters.
Oliver Case: Lifemirror
Crowdsourced filmmaking is still largely unexplored as a creative process and as a social phenomenon. In recent months it has started to spread rapidly throughout the arts community as a cheaper and more democratic mode of expression than traditional filmmaking, and often manages to ignite unexpected tangential narratives and new meanings. The Lifemirror project is a crowdsourcing tool and cinematic system designed to enable collective creativity and filmic argumentation based on geotime tracked video through mobile cameras. The paper will explore the nature of the time-movement image within a considered virtual space of intentionality, and so aims to provide an insight into social behavior surrounding audiovisual communication. The data gathered from Lifemirror sheds new light on the collective activity of user-artists and provides a reframing of what it means to communicate through cinematics. In this way, we aim to identify emerging patterns and hierarchies of discord in the evolution of digital film and the communities from which it emerges. The system itself looks at the potential of the ‘collective artist’ as a seeker of truth and disrupter of accepted truths (referring in particular to the nature the raw-state digital video image). A series of collectively produced films informs the research and provides a ground level perspective of community issues, imagined narratives, political debate and activism. The Lifemirror system will actively accompany the writing of the paper and the conference presentation to create an active artistic representation of the theories and findings in the research.
Paul Sermon & Charlotte Gould: All the World’s a Screen
On the evening of Saturday 28th May audiences at MadLab in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Hanger Artist Studios in Poblenou Barcelona were joined together on screen for the first time to create their very own interactive generative cinema experience, complete with sets, costumes and props. Employing the scenography techniques of Alfred Hitchcock, the artists created a miniature film set in which the remote audiences acted and directed their own movie, transporting participants into animated environments and sets where they created personalised unique narratives. This immersive interactive installation pushes the boundaries of telematic art and generative cinema, combining the possibilities of telepresent performance with miniature scale-models and animated scenes for the development of audience participation to explore how narratives can be revealed through a subtle interplay between artist, audience and environment. With key references to the telematic stage, user generated performances and the dramaturgy of networked communication, this project references Shakespeare’s infamous line ‘All the world’s a stage’, with the seven rooms of the model film set relating to the seven ages of man presented in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, providing a metaphysical backdrop to the unfolding plot. Members of the audience in Barcelona were able to decide on the context of this interactive telematic performance by using an iPhone app to select between seven different background sets, which consisted of live webcams scenes and animated environments. The participants in Barcelona could then stand in front of a chroma-key blue screen and position themselves within these stage sets. Members of the audience in Manchester were then transported into this telepresent experience via their own blue-box studio to join the ‘players’ in Barcelona within the dramaturgy of the model set as they journeyed through the ‘Seven stages of man’.
Martine Corompt: Reduction and the Tachistoscopic Flash (paper and audience participation experiment)
The subliminal flash has had a long and colourful history in perceptual psychology, from its origins in WWII military and law enforcement training,through its use as a tool for market research and by Structuralist filmmakers of the 1960s, to the more dubious associations of mind control for sinister multi-national companies. In more recent times the subliminal flash has been used in television broadcast advertising as a gimmick rather than a surreptitious form of mind control – though the practice is still officially banned in Australia. This presentation will explore the history of the Tachistocopic flash as a methodology both cultural and technological, recreating historical experiments for the audience as well as presenting related experiments of the author’s own art practice, which test the limits of representational reduction and liminal perception. The paper continues the author’s interest in the more general tendency of ‘reduction’ in contemporary art and culture, whereby as technology shrinks in physical size and increases in storage capacity we can rid ourselves of books, CDs and bulky electronic gadgets, giving an outward appearance of decreased materialism through a reduction of our worldly possessions, yet veiling the excesses of increased consumption. The thread through the author’s recent work has been how to find ways in which to respond to this tendency of reduction thematically, while also using the same aesthetics and framework as a form of participation in the language.