Performance Art: creative research and connections with my practice

FINAL PROJECT – CREATIVE RESEARCH

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Reflecting on my current practice, its development in time and discussing it with Professor Wendy McMurdo, I sensed that a deeper and more critical explanation of its “performative” aspects could be beneficial in the way I am presenting my whole body of work.

Lisa S. Wainwright, on the “Enciclopaedia Britannica”, defines Performance art, as “a time-based art form that typically features a live presentation to an audience or to onlookers (as on a street) and draws on such arts as acting, poetry, music, dance, and painting. It is generally an event rather than an artifact, by nature ephemeral, though it is often recorded on video and by means of still photography” (Wainwright, 2018): this general and classic definition starts relating Performance Art to performing arts, but as we can appreciate, also thanks to its evolution in time, it transcended this “limit” and started involving different art-forms.

Traditionally, it is related to the Fine Arts context and it is usually interdisciplinary, involving more disciplines at the same time. It can be a live performance or released through different visual media and in many cases it actively involve the audience, asking for their active participation in a sort of art-experiment, even if this point it is not strictly necessary to consider a piece of work as a performance. Of course, having strong experimental traits, it often transcends the boundaries of the classic white-wall galleries, in which, by the way, it can find its place as Art History taught us: it can take place anywhere since it gives priority not to the context of consumption, that often can become integral part of the performance itself, but to the message it wants to convey, its significance. It is not meant to entertain the audience but to make the observer to reflect of re-think the concepts behind the performance.

Starting from the concepts mentioned here above, we can find performance traits on my project “I can hear you now” at different levels:

  • With my still images a “performed” act can be observed and viewers are asked to participate in different ways. They are asked to observe and empathise while facing my “Sequences” and to actively participate by identifying emotions observing my “Confrontation sheets”, similarly to what done by PINK de Thierry and her photographic production in which she represented the concept of Humanity’s cultural transference. The difference, here, is that with my photographic practice my aim is to transfer and communicate human’s emotions;
  • With my video materials, that wants to enlarge the context of consumption of my work making it more immediate thanks to an action taking place directly in front of the audience’s eyes, in which I had the chance to connect my practice to performance once more by using different visual languages and solutions. An example is my “I can hear you now – video self portraits” in which I undertake the same path my sitters followed in front of my camera to allow viewers to feel a deeper connection with my stills by observing the sequence to take on a life on its own. This video, alongside “I can hear you now – emotional response”, creates a stronger link between my practice and Performance Art. While the first one can be related to Matt White’s 2008 “Weightless”, that the author defined as a use of “self-hypnosis in an attempt to free himself from the force of gravity; the result of this experiment is the uncovering of two opposing, highly charged and deeply engaging emotional states” (White, 2008) and to Marina Abramović’s “Freeing the Voice”, the second presents similarities to her “Holding the Milk. The kitchen, Homage to Saint Teresa” since, while Abramović in her video is forced to stand still and hold a heavy bowl full of milk in a meditative act, in my video the subject is forced to remain still and hold her heavy emotional reaction to my video self-portrait, while facing my grief and empathise with my feelings. I had the chance to be present during the opening of Abramović’s performance-event in Alba, Italy, and I felt moved by the experience. I also decided to observe the audience during the whole performance and while some people wanted to discuss it while it was taking place, some other remained silent, ecstatic, while observing the scene: everyone was deeply involved even though in different ways. My hope, creating this video, was to register the emotional response of my audience to my practice and, at the same time, to create a performance that could allow who is watching it to face the emotion of an individual who is facing my emotions, creating different levels (and layers) of meaning;

Matt White, Weightless, 2008, UK. ©Matt White, 2008.

 

Marina Abramović, Freeing the Voice, 1976, Budapest, Hungary. ©Marina Abramović, 1976.

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Marina Abramović, Holding the Milk. The kitchen, Homage to Saint Teresa, official leaflet of the event curated by Ceretto Family, including information related to the permanent exhibition at La Piola, 2017, Coro della Chiesa della Maddalena, Alba, Italy. Slideshow. ©Ceretto Family, 2017.

  • My “Twelve episodes” in which the actual becomes photography, represent in self-portraits form different moments after long periods of suffering and the relationship with my companion through a visual dialogue. As we can read into the article “Performance Art Movement Overview and Analysis” on “The Art History. Modern Art Insight”, this section of my work can be linked to Process Art, “often intrigued by the possibilities of mundane and repetitive actions” (Butler, 2018). As we can read into their definition of Process Art, “When Harold Rosenberg coined the term “Action Painting,” he was emphasizing the importance of not the artwork itself – the objet d’art – but the process by which the work was made. Thus, Process Art refers to the actions or, in some cases, the performance of creating a work of art. The actual term was popularized by Robert Morris for a 1968 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum” (Butler, 2018). In this “Step” of my project, what matters is not only the subject matter itself, but also, to use Morris’ words, the process by which I created those images. Moreover, this section can be also related to 1970s Performance artworks in which we can observe the incorporation of the autobiography;
  • My short documentary “[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]”, can be considered as almost pure Performance Art. Alongside narration and interviews, there are visual experiments, which I analysed more in details into my previous article “[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]: a deeper analysis and a first recognition”, that want to re-enact the actual in a symbolic way. One sequence especially has been inspired by Michael Betancourt’s “Dancing Glitch” its the author defines as “a 2.5 minute long movie that is based around footage from the Louis Lumière film Danse serpentine, vue no. 76, featuring the American dancer/choreographer Loïe Fuller, shot in 1896” (Betancourt, 2013).

Michael Betancourt, Dancing Glitch, 2013, USA. ©Michael Betancourt, 2013.

Performance Art has its origins in the works of Futurist, Dadaists and Surrealists artists, who often accompanied their works with performances that were something in between vaudeville comedies and political demonstrations: this demonstrates the mentioned intention to focus on contents that are relevant to modern Society and on their meaning more broadly.

First International Dada Fair-Berlin-1920_Courtesy of Hannah Hoch

Hannah Höch, Dada Exhibit, at the First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920. ©Hannah Höch, 1920.

After the World War II, many artists decided to step into the political discourse and artistically demonstrate with their practice their thoughts about the Society they were living in. All around the world, from the US, to Europe, to Asia, in different ways and forms artists became more concerned in transforming their artworks into statements. From body art to Feminist movements, creative minds decided to use different media and artistic solution to demonstrate their emotional frustration and to fight social injustice. As “The Art History. Modern Art Insight” stated about Feminist movement in the world of art, “This permitted rage, lust, and self-expression in art by women, allowing them to speak and be heard as never before. Women performers seized an opportune moment to build performance art for themselves, rather than breaking into other already established, male-dominated forms. They frequently dealt with issues that had not yet been undertaken by their male counterparts, bringing fresh perspectives to art” (Butler, 2018). This chapter discusses Performance art during the 1960s and 1970s, and it is terrible to me, as a woman, to realise that after forty years nothing changed. We can still observe a male dominated world in which the same act performed by a man and by a woman is interpreted in two different ways. During the late 1980s, Guerrilla Girls, an American group of female art activists, wanted to bring “attention to women artists and artists of colour and exposing the domination of white males in the art establishment” (Enciclopaedia Britannica, 2018). Their Movement, including anonymous artists and professionals who called themselves using the names of influential women artists of the past, arouse after they noticed that into the MoMA’s exhibition “An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture” only 13 out of more than 160 artists were female. Their intervention, alongside the one of other activists in history, induced the MoMa of New York itself to create an exhibition in 2015, titled “Messing with MoMA: Critical Interventions at the Museum of Modern Art, 2939 – Now”, organised by Jennifer Tobias, Reader Services Librarian at MoMA. As described on the dedicated page of the museum’s website, “As an institution dedicated to ever-changing art forms, MoMA consistently attracts direct engagement. This exhibition documents seven decades of interventions by artists, the general public, and even MoMA staff, ranging from manifestos and conceptual gestures to protests and performances. “Messing” connotes the variety of these actions, which question, play with, provoke, subvert, and comment on the paradox of institutionalizing radical art” (Tobias, 2015). Thanks to this exhibition, that created a performance out of different performance actions in time, we can see how artists, but also common people as well, during the history of the museum decided to manifest their thought and express their personal or artistic “unacceptance” while facing the predominant artistic environment.

But Is It Art MoMA

Anonymous, Image published on “But Is It Art?” in New York Daily News, August 25, 1969. ©New York Daily News, 1969.

Another brilliant contribution to Feminism has been created by the Artist Judy Chicago at The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, 1974-79. In her installation, form of art strictly connected to Performance Art, a massive triangular table organised in thirty-nine place settings, each one commemorating an important woman in history. As we can read on the website of the Brooklyn Museum, “The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table” (Brooklyn Museum, 2018). This installation, represents the arise of “Women’s Liberation” Movement in the West Coast of United Stated during the 1970s.

judy chicago

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile, 576 × 576 in. (1463 × 1463 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. ©Judy Chicago. Photo by Donald Woodman.

But, in my opinion, female Performance Art definitely crossed its boundaries with the work done by Yoko Ono, starting from her “Cut Piece” and with Marina Abramović and her series “Rhythms”. “Cut Piece” and “Rhythm 0” are quite similar in the way they are structured. In Ono’s performance, debuting in Kyoto in 1964, the artists, sitting on a stage, provided clear instructions to the audience: they could approach her one a time and cut a small piece of her best dress. We can observe that while some people of the audience resulted hesitant, some others decided to dare more and started ripping her blouse and even her bra. The performance ended at the artists discretion. As we can read on MoMa Learning, “It is the realization of what she calls a ‘score’, a set of written instructions that when followed result in an action, event, performance, or some other kind of experience. As with most of her work—which also encompasses music, poetry, film, sculpture, installation, paintings events—the participation of others is often key. Equally conceptual and physical, Cut Piece relies upon audiences’ willingness to interpret and follow the instructions outlining their role. Though participatory art is now more common, Ono was among its pioneers. In works like Cut Piece, she invites viewers to become agents in the creation of art” (MoMa Learning, 2018). Without audience’s participation, this work would not be complete and could not take place.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, at Carnegie Hall, New York, USA. Filmed by documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles. ©Yoko Ono/Maisles, 1965.

Slightly different the case of “Rhythm 0” that took place at Studio Morra in Naples, Italy, in 1974. Abramović placed on a table a series of tools of pleasure or pain and she passively allowed the audience to actively interact with her body in any way they wanted. The experiment has suddenly been ended by the organisers, when some participants became more and more violent, cutting the artist’s dress, skin and also placing a loaded gun into her hand. The peculiar fact was that this occurred while she was able to maintain a completely passive behaviour, but as soon as she became “conscious” again  and she started to interact with the attendees, their dare suddenly disappeared and, to use Abramović’s words “everybody ran away” (Abramović, 2013). They could not confront her as a real person after what happened.

Marina Abramović, Marina Abramovic on Rhythm 0 (1974), 2013, Directed, Produced, and Edited by Milica Zec, USA. Video released on YouTube, May 2017. ©MAI, Marina Abramovic Institute.

Connecting the concept of “Feminist art” but also moving forward from this topic, in my project, anyone can appreciate a predominance of female subjects: this was not a choice, since I have been asking both men and women to be portrayed. What I could notice is that men have been less receptive in expressing their frailty but, at the same time, since my practice is focused on emotions, Mental Health and social problems, I had to face a further obstacle: the fear of being judged by viewers and this is something that involved men and women at the same level. We think that in 2018 people are open to a constructive dialogue around these concepts, but this is not true, because in reality Mental Health related topics are still a taboo in our culture. People don’t focus their attention on the word “Health”, but on “Mental” and this still induce many individual to avoid an open confrontation having a falsified perception of what is under discussion, like if this topic can be only correlated to madness and not also to those “minor” issues we have to face every single day: like grief, pain, solitude, social exclusion, bullism or traumas. This is why the performance is so important into my practice that I decided, during the opening night of my solo exhibition and FuoriLuogo Art and Culture Residence, Asti, Italy, to ask a woman to be photographed while releasing her negative emotions through as scream. I waited for the room to be full of people focused on my stills, videos and activities in order to silently start photographing her. I wanted viewers to be “surprised” and have a genuine reaction to the performed action. Unfortunately, since I was busy in portraying my sitter, I had no chance to portray the reaction of viewers and I only have photos of me and my subject during the live performance made by my companion, again, and by the Staff.

fuoriluogo2

Dayana Marconi, I can hear you now art exhibition, June 2018, Fuoriluogo Art and Culture Residence, Asti, Italy. ©Dayana Marconi/Matteo Conti, 2018.

There is still a great need of Performance in the world of art, there is a huge need of artists willing to defy those social habits that transform these issues in something awkward and this is why Performance Art is so important in my practice as well due to its subject matter. These artists are simply individuals who want to creatively say “No” to the current social situation and honestly, with my work I want to become one of them. “Instead of seeking entertainment, the audience for performance art often expects to be challenged and provoked. Viewers may be asked to question their own definitions of art, and not always in a comfortable or pleasant manner. As regards style, many performance artists do not easily fall into any identified stylistic category, and many more still refuse their work to be categorized into any specific sub-style. The movement produced a variety of common and overlapping approaches, which might be identified as actions” (Butler, 2018), this is why many artists can be liked to different categories since they use different artistic solutions in their practice at the same time. The term “Action” is the one that could include all artists into a category only: the action is what connect to the audience since, as previously mentioned, often Performance artists ask them to actively participate to their creative experiments.

Artists who definitely took action have been Gilbert and George, who adopted the slogan “Art for all”, having an openly anti-elitist approach to art. This concept has also been fundamental, for instance, in the creation of “I AM HERE – HERE I AM” art event, created in collaboration with Maryann Morris, Nathan Wacey, Ed Sykes and Will Wright. Working as a collective, we decided to completely rethink the space in which art should be consumed and to have the same anti-elitist attitude while considering how to create and manage the whole event. Gilbert and George’s practice involved a great variety of media. From live performances, like their 1970 “The singing sculpture” in which their covered their hands and heads in metalised powders and, sitting at a table, started singing “Underneath the Arches” by Flanagan and Allen several times during the same day, to photography with their 1971-2005 series “The Pictures”, that they described as a “visual love letter from us to the viewer” (Gilbert and George, 2007). In their interview to “Italy Magazine”, they also added “”We are dealing with universal subjects: death, hope, life, fear, sex, money, race, religion – these are all things that are relevant to everybody” (Gilbert and George, 2007). The two artists often appear as subjects of their stills, often in a very provoking way, like in the case of the photograph titled “Shitty Naked Human World”, in which the artists portrayed themselves nude alongside images of giant pieces of faeces. They are the artists who represent, in my opinion, the perfect bond of Performance Art and photography, that in time remained their predominant form of artistic expression.

Many artists in time had an important role in Performance Art, like Spalding Gray with his famous Comedy monologues; Laurie Anderson, the American avant-garde artist who, in her “Duets on Ice”, played her violin while wearing ice skates frozen in a block of ice until it melted; HA Schult, who hired a stunt pilot to crash an aircraft on a landfill in Staten Island to send the video via satellite to Kassel during Documenta VI in 1977 and PINK de Thierry, who created the MWC, Man-Woman-Child, to symbolically represent a constant in cultural transference, experimenting with photo and video art, installations in public spaces and performances. What matters, in my opinion, is that Performance Art, with its provoking attitude, will continue to defy viewers and Modern Society, employing no matter what medium or style: what truly matters is “The Message” and human being, nowadays, definitely still need charismatic figures able to use art to open minds and move consciences generating a stronger sense of awareness in the audience.

 

References:

Abramović Marina, Freeing the Voice, 1976, Budapest, Hungary. Video available released YouTube in 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBVzJI6m72A

Abramović Marina, Holding the Milk. The kitchen, Homage to Saint Teresa, 2017, curated by Marina Abramović  and Ceretto Family, Coro della Chieda della Maddalena, Alba, Italy.

Abramović Marina, Rhythm 0, 1974, Studio Morra, Naples, Italy.

Anderson Laurie, official website http://www.laurieanderson.com/

Betancourt Michael, Dancing Glithc, 2013, USA, video released on Batancourt’s official Vimeo account “Cinegraphic” https://vimeo.com/56486626

Butler Anne Marie, Performance Art, Performance Art Movement Overview and Analysis, on The Art History. Modern Art Insight, 2018, Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors, Accessed 19 Jul 2018, https://www.theartstory.org/movement-performance-art.htm

De Thierry PINK, L’Art du Bonheur: Man Woman Child series, 1980–1990, various locations.

Gray Spalding, official website https://www.spaldinggray.com/

Italy Magazine Team, Gilbert & George deshock at Rivoli, on Italy Magazine, October 2007 issue http://www.italymagazine.com/italy/marche/gilbert-george-deshock-rivoli

Höch Hannah, Dada Exhibit, at the First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920. Artist’s page on Enciclopaedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hannah-Hoch

MAI, Marina Abramović Institute, Official website https://mai.art/about-mai/

Marconi Dayana S., I can hear you now, project’s official website http://www.icanhearyounowproject.com/

Marconi Dayana S., [ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]: a deeper analysis and a first recognition, on Dayana Marconi CRJ, July 2018 issue https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/%c9%aa%cb%88ma%cb%90-%c9%a1o%cb%90-a-deeper-analysis-and-a-first-recognition/

Marconi Dayana S., [ɪˈmaː.ɡoː], April/May 2018, Asti/Rome/Los Angeles, released on Dayana Marconi Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/269339225

Marconi Dayana S., I can hear you now – emotional response, November 2017, Asti/Turin, released on Dayana Marconi Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/241800018

Marconi Dayana S., I can hear you now – video self-portrait, March 2017, Asti/Turin,  released on Dayana Marconi Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/208347694

Marconi Dayana S./Morris Maryann/Sykes Ed/Wacey Nathan/Wright Will, I AM HERE – HERE I AM, art event that took place at The Studio, Marks Tey, Essex, UK. Official website created and managed by Maryann Morris https://iamhereexhibit.wordpress.com/

MoMa Learning, Cut Piece. Yoko Ono. 1964 Performance, 2018, on Learning area of MoMa, New York, official website https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/yoko-ono-cut-piece-1964

Ono Yoko, Cut Piece, 1965, Carnegie Hall, New York, USA. Filmed by Albert and David Maysles.

Schult HA, official website http://www.haschult.de/

Tobias Jennifer, Messing with MoMA: Critical Interventions at the Museum of Modern Art, 2939 – Now, 2015, exhibition at MoMA, New York, USA. Information available on MoMA official website https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2015/messingwithmoma/

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Guerrilla Girls,  on The Encyclopaedia Britannica, April 1999 issue https://www.britannica.com/topic/Guerrilla-Girls

The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, exhibition’s page on the Brooklyn Museum official website https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/dinner_party

Wainwright Lisa S., Performance Art, on The Encyclopaedia Britannica, March 2008 issue https://www.britannica.com/art/performance-art

White Matt, Weightless, 2008, available on Matt White official website http://www.matt-white.org/projects.html

Documentary as a form of Art

FINAL PROJECT – CREATIVE RESEARCH

With the developments of media in these last years, documentary became an experimental filmic experience. According to Marco Bertozzi, author of “Documentario come Arte”, title that can be translated in English as “Documentary as Art”, its relationship with visual arts got stronger until making the related terminologies becoming “blurred”. According to his opinion, today with “Documentary” we mean a series of filmic modalities to relate with the complexity of the actual, aware that we are facing a form of Cinema in transition from the creation of realistic images, interpreted in the most traditional way, to cinematographic images that makes viewers “feeling with eyes”.

As Aline Caillet stated in her  2014 “Dispositif critiques. Le Documentaire, du cinéma aux arts visuels”, as a genre, documentary became “une pratique hybride qui mêle cinéma, vidéo et performance, qui se confronte à l’expérimental et s’affranchit souvent de la relation authentique au réel qu’il devrait portant garantir” (Caillet, 2014). With her words, Caillet meant that it became an hybrid practice mixing cinema, video and performance art and that confronts itself with the experimental and that often overcomes the authentic relation with reality that it should guarantee.  Moreover, Bertozzi remembers us that, thanks to the emerging “re-use” techniques, a fundamental aspects of the relationship between documentary and contemporary art emerges: a sort of inner “fight” that subvert the traditional fields of research. The re-elaborate potential of Cinema, according to the author, is a propulsive force that subtracts images from a linear story and throws them into a condition of elective materials that can be used to generate a reflection free of prejudices of their destination. This is a concept we also had the chance to analyse in relation to still images discussing “re-photography” with Professor Gary McLeod during the “Surfaces and Strategies” Module of our MA Photography at Falmouth, demonstrating that this technique can be applied to different media and forms of art.

The relationship between documentary and art definitely tied the knot in 2002 with “Documenta 11” exhibition in Kassel. Okwui Enwezor, its Artistic Director, in his preface to the exhibition’s catalogue declared that almost fifty years after its founding, Documenta found itself confronted once again with the specters of yet another turbulent time of unceasing cultural, social, and political frictions. In order to meet the challenge of making a meaningful articulation of the possibilities of contemporary art in such a climate, Documenta 11 was presented in a series of five Platforms of public discussions, conferences, workshops, books, and film and video programs. ‘In a sense, then, Documenta 11’s five Platforms, in a paradoxical but necessary critical move, begin with a series of deterritorializations which not only intervene in the very historical location of Documenta in Kassel but also emblematize the mechanisms that make the space of contemporary art one of multiple ruptures.” (Enwezor, 2002).

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Hatje Cantz Verlag, Documenta 11_Platform 5: Exhibition Catalogue, preface written by the Artistic Director Okwui Enwezor, 2002,  published by Hatje Cantz, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, Germany. Images from the online catalogue on Documenta website. Slideshow. ©Documenta, 2002.

As we can read into the area “Works in Kassel” of Documenta’s website, “In search of opportunities for greater social impact, art reacts to an increasing extent to its socially defined environment as a means of gaining new credibility beyond the boundaries of the exhibition context” (Documenta, 2018): this can be applied to what happened in the development of documentary in time. While filmmakers tried to enrich their films opening themselves to Contemporary Art, visual artists explored the language of Cinema in their experiments. Boundaries became more and more ephemeral and, as Caillet remembered, documentary started to move from a status of mere representation of the real world to an expressive form used to “create” the actual. Documentary creates like philosophy, physics and painting. Again, Bertozzi stated, as Montani confirmed in 2017, that like during a dreamlike experience we are ask to pay an interpretative attention to details, the documentary experience requires the admission of an investment on a symbolic level. This is why, as we can appreciate reading Anna Raczynski’s essay “The moving Image: Expanded Documentary Practice in Contemporary Art”, published in Sztuka i Dokumentacja, “Art works realised during this period include a diverse range of forms, including ‘mokumentaries’, film or photography essays as well as found footage reportages” (Raczynski, 2013). In my opinion, this means that the diversity of uses and interpretations generated a wider range of art-forms that dramatically transformed the documentary itself.

A brilliant example of mokumentary is the one accompanying Damien Hirst’s 2017 exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” at Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy. Hirst used it to narrate the story of the discovery and the rescue of fake statues sunk during the shipwreck of the Unbelievable. As we can read on Palazzo Grassi’s website, this has been “Damien Hirst’s most ambitious and complex project to date, ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been almost ten years in the making. Exceptional in scale and scope, the exhibition tells the story of the ancient wreck of a vast ship, the ‘Unbelievable’ (Apistos in the original Koine Greek), and presents what was discovered of its precious cargo: the impressive collection of Aulus Calidius Amotan – a freed slave better known as Cif Amotan II – which was destined for a temple dedicated to the sun” (Palazzo Grassi/Punta della Dogana, 2017) and it has been displayed across a 5000 square meters space.

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Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, 2017, Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy. “Demon with bowl”, “Skull of a Cyclops” and “Skull of a Cyclopes examined by a Diver”, “Sphinx”. Images from the exhibition available on Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana official website. ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Into the mokumentary, we can observe the team of researchers identifying Amotan’s shipwreck under the surface of the Indian Ocean, but in order to retrieve the sunken spoils, they needed a benefactor and this is when Hirst’s role entered into the narration. The film, including in its cast a both experts and actors, has been directed by Sam Hobkinson and produced by Hirst and Oxford Films and at the beginning of 2018 it has been released on Netflix. Again, we can appreciate a merger of the spaces in which a mokumentary can be consumed by the audience: before during and art exhibition and the following year on an online streaming platform alongside many other genres of films, from fiction to traditional documentaries.

Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, 2018, Netflix Trailer. ©Damien Hirst/Oxford Films, 2017/2018.

Nowadays, I can affirm that cinema has been fully included into the museum-circuit, thanks to those visual experiments that make viewers and curators to reconsider the spaces in which it is generally consumed. In 1996, the massive exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles “Art and Film since 1945: Hall of Mirrors” explored the deep and sometimes difficult relationship between cinema and the visual arts in the post-war era. It examined the mutual relationship between film and art, and how they influenced each other to generate new forms of artistic expression. Many famous artists coming from a wide range of art-fields have been exhibited and subsequently featured into the official exhibition-catalogue: artists like Joseph Cornell, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, Richard Hamilton, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, John Baldessari and Cindy Sherman. To quote the Artistic Director of the exhibition Kerry Brougher, this exhibition demonstrated that “to deconstruct cinema is to investigate a culture defined to a large degree by the cinematic experience. .. Since mid-century, artists have created work which often allows us to enter the film apparatus” (Brougher, 1996).

Russell Ferguson and Kerry Brougher, Art and film since 1945 : Hall of mirrors, 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art/ Monacelli Press, Los Angeles/New York. ©Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles, 1996.

What emerges from Philippe Dubois consideration in his “Le cinema exposé. Essai de categorisation”, is an “extended” concept of documentary, as also reported by Bertozzi in his “Documentario come Arte” is that as soon as we experience the documentary in a museum context that allows us to re-observe it not as entertainment but as a “support”: we can comprehend not only its narration, but also those psychological, historical, spatial and  conceptual elements.

According to Jean-Louis Comolli, what we call “Documentary” is a form of Cinema that faces our individual, social, public and private realities, taking a risk, being less shielded than fiction which operates from a “bigger distance”. This genre involves different cultural fields and languages in a constant confrontation between the author and the viewer.

Self-narration received a strong stimulus from digital technologies and the narrator’s relation with the world became a proper art performance thanks to “elements like improvisation, the involvement of the audience and multimedia techniques” (Bruzzi, 2000) Moreover, during the 1970s performance art self-affirmed as an experience that can lead to a transformative act. In some cases, the narration lose its authoritative role and, through elements like variation in the vocal range, it started representing a non-protected area of the actual. The narrator changed timbre and doing so “it changed the documentary Cinema, multiplying the possibilities of relationship with the image: sometimes refuting it, some others working in accordance with it, some others illustrating the concealed, the occult, the subterranean” (Bertozzi, 2018). According to the author and like in the case of my short documentary “[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]”, this form of Cinema moderates the actual to relive it in a unprotected area that required the active presence of the director. The author also mentioned Giorgio Agamben’s words “l’arte non è che il modo in cui l’anonimo che chiamiamo artista, mantenendosi costantemente in relazione con una pratica, cerca di costituire la sua vita come una forma di vita… in cui, come ogni forma di vita, è in questione nulla di meno che la sua felicità” (Agamben, 2016), meaning that art is nothing more than the way in which the anonymous that we call artist, maintaining a constant relationship with his practice, tries sto build his life as a “form of life”… in which, like for any other form of life, the heart of the matter is nothing less than his own happiness. Bertozzi calls it a “ludic simulation” with a great hermeneutical value, an explicit ‘mise-en-scene’ able to transcend the opposition between the actual an the fiction. Like in the case of my piece of work, in his opinion the declared re-enactment/fiction enables viewers to scan and observe traumas, epiphanies or disturbing horizons since a reinvented act can plumb deeper recesses.

A brilliant example of the mentioned concept of reenactment is Cosimo Terlizzi’s “L’uomo doppio”. About his practice, Terlizzi said: “ho concentrato lo sguardo sulla mia vita sentimentale e sul mio lavoro di artista; mi sono usato come cavia per indagare le luci e le ombre della personalità con la volontà di far emergere un’indagine sulla natura stessa dell’uomo diviso tra istinto e morale” (Terlizzi, 2012).

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Cosimo Terlizzi, L’uomo doppio, 2012, Italy, various locations. Images from the documentary, available on Cosimo Terlizzi’s official website. Slideshow. ©Cosimo Terlizzi, 2012.

In English, his words mean: I focused my attention on my love life and on my practice as an artist; I used myself as test subject to investigate the lights and the shadows of personality with the will to make emerge an investigation on human nature, divided between instinct and moral. To make a comparison, in my specific case I focused my attention on traumas, negative memories, the concept of dual, individuality and the dreamlike experience to represent my inner world and a shared condition that viewers can fully interpret and understand in accordance with their own personal experience and their personalities. The idea of “doppio” (dual) could be considered as a link between the two documentaries and, even if with different methodologies and intents, we share the interest in human condition and in the exploration of deeper emotional levels and the recesses of human mind.

 

References:

Agamben Giorgio, Che cos’è reale? La scomparsa di Majorana, 2016, Neri Pozza Ed., Vicenza, Italy. Pp. 18.

Agamben Giorgio, Creazione e Anarchia. L’opera nell’età della religione capitalista, 2017, Neri Pozza, Vicenza, Italy. Pp. 28.

Bertozzi Marco, Documentario come Arte, Riuso, performance, autobiografia nell’esperienza del cinema contemporaneo, 2018, Marsilio Ed., Venice, Italy. Pp. 7-9; 11-17; 25-26; 34; 37; 40-43; 48-49; 51-52; 65.

Bruzzi Stella, New Documentary: A critical introduction, 2000, Routledge, London, UK.

Caillet Anine, Dispositif critiques. Le Documentaire, du cinéma aux arts visuels, 2014, Presse Iniversitaire de Rennes, Rennes, France. Pp. 9;29.

Cantz Verlag Hatje, Documenta 11_Platform 5: Exhibition Catalogue, preface written by the Artistic Director Okwui Enwezor, 2002,  published by Hatje Cantz, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, Germany.

Comolli Jean-Louis, Voir et pouvoir. L’innocence perdue: cinema, television, fiction, documentaire, 2004, Verdier, Paris, France. Pp. 3.

Dubois Philippe, Le cinema exposé. Essai de categorisation, in A. Bordina/V. Estremo/F. Federici Extended Temporalities. Transient Visions in the Museum and in Art,  2016, Mimesis International, Milan/Udine, Italy. Pp. 41-71.

Enwezor Okwui, Documenta 11, 2002, Kassel, Germany. Documenta official website, Retrospective area https://www.documenta.de/en/retrospective/documenta11#

Ferguson Russell/Brougher Kerry, Art and film since 1945 : hall of mirrors, (also titled: Hall of Mirrors), 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art/ Monacelli Press, Los Angeles/New York, USA. Pp. 23.

Hirst Damien, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, 2017, exhibition curated by Fondazione Pinault at Palazzo Grassi/Punta della Dogana, Venezia, Italy. Information available on Palazzo Grassi/Punta della Dogana official website https://www.palazzograssi.it/en/exhibitions/past/damien-hirst-at-palazzo-grassi-and-punta-della-dogana-in-2017-1/

Hirst Damien/Hobkinson Sam, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, 2018, official trailer presenting the documentary’s release on Netflix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFo1ynWEiEY

Marconi Dayana, [ɪˈmaː.ɡoː], April/May 2018, Asti/Rome/Los Angeles, released on Dayana Marconi Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/269339225

McKenna Kristine, Projections and Reflections : MOCA’s ‘Hall of Mirrors’ looks at art’s impact on film, cinema’s influence on artists and the unpredictable results when the two worlds collide, on Los Angeles Times, March 17th 1996 issue. http://articles.latimes.com/1996-03-17/entertainment/ca-47845_1_film-stills

Montani Pietro, Tre forme di creatività: tecnica, arte, politica, 2017, Cronopio Ed., Napoli, Italy.

Nepoti Roberto, Storia del Documentario, 1988, Patron Ed., Bologna, Italy. Pp. 144.

Raczynski Anna, The moving Image: Expanded Documentary Practice in Contemporary Art, in Sztuka i Dokumentacja, 2013, issue 9. Pp. 125. Full PDF English essay available on Sztuka i Dokumentacja at the following link http://www.journal.doc.art.pl/pdf9/anna_raczynski_mowing_image.pdf

Terlizzi Cosimo, L’uomo doppio, (Engl. Trans: The dual man), 2012, information and images related to the documentary available on Cosimo Terlizzi’s official website http://www.cosimoterlizzi.com/luomo-doppio/

David Lynch: catching the Big Fish

FINAL PROJECT – ARTISTIC REFERENCES

“I carry a log — yes. Is it funny to you? It is not to me. Behind all things are reasons. Reasons can even explain the absurd. Do we have the time to learn the reasons behind the human being’s varied behavior? I think not. Some take the time. Are they called detectives? Watch — and see what life teaches.”

The Log Lady Introduction. Twin Peaks, season 1, episode 1, “Traces to Nowhere”.  Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Directed by Duwayne Dunham. Introduction written, filmed and directed by David Lynch and aired on June 18, 1993 for the re-airing of the series on the Bravo Network and included into the 2007 Gold Box Edition release.

 

This few words have been pronounced by one of “Twin Peaks” most mysterious and representative characters: The Log Lady. David Lynch decided to create a series of short monologues in which the Log Lady, sitting in her cabin while holding her log, speaks directly to the camera, touching and somehow introducing, elements contained by the plot of the related episodes: in this specific case, episode 1 “Traces of Nowhere”. Since the first time I had the chance to listen to those words, I immediately empathised with the character and the burden she had to handle being constantly misinterpreted and misunderstood by other people and today, after twenty-five years, I believe that her words can provide a very clear explanation of the subject matter behind my project. We all carry a burden, and we all have difficulties in identifying the reasons behind human behaviours: this situation can generate even painful misunderstandings for those people who might have difficulties in explaining what is behind their own behaviours. Into my project I tried to guide viewers in taking that time to understand “the other” and empathise with him: I tried to use “what life teaches” (Lynch, 1993) to allow them to use their personal experience to interpret “the Pain of others” (Sontag, 2003). Of course, like Sontag wrote in her “Regarding the Pain of others”, “No “we” should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people’s pain.” (Sontag, 2003) and this statement can be perfectly applied to the situation described, in a more cryptic way, by The Log Lady. Into her introduction, in Sontag’s words, in my practice, we can find a common element: understanding and empathy require time and effort in order to avoid being simply voyeurs into other people’s lives.

In his “Catching the Big Fish”, David Lynch stated “Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract and they’re very beautiful. I look for a certain kind of fish that is important to me, one that can translate to cinema. But there are all kind of fish swimming down there. There are fish for business, fish for sports. There are fish for everything. Everything, anything that is a thing, comes up from the deepest level. Modern physics calls that level the Unified Field. The more your consciousness – your awareness – is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source, and the bigger fish you can catch.” (Lynch, 2007).

I personally own the Italian edition of this amazing book, titled “Acque profonde” (Deep waters) and even if it is something between a “spiritual essay” and a meditation manual, it made me better understand (at least a bit) how “the person” David Lynch thinks and how he makes Art. He is not only a film director: he is a photographer, a writer, a musician and a painter, too. His mind is completely open to Art and to what he calls the “expanded consciousness”. As soon as I read his introduction to the book, I realized how my project is the smallest of my big fishes but, at the same time, that with my work I started swimming in those deeper waters and I started catching bigger ones. He inspired me because he made me realize what I would like to do with my creations in the future: exploring the deepest meanders of my self-consciousness and of my inner self and transform them in something visible, something that does not require an explanation to be appreciated, or something that, as Lynch’s body of work, can be appreciated or not, but that objectively demonstrates its value as piece of art. This is a very difficult path to follow and I must admit I have high-standard sources of inspiration, while I still consider myself a beginner as “fisherman”, but it is also true that with “I can hear you now” I started exploring myself more and open myself to the world and if there is something that Lynch’s words made me understand it is that this is a good starting point.

As he explained into the mentioned publication, he loves Cinema’s Language because it allows artists to convey many messages that might be important or abstracts, but thanks to time, sequences, script, words, music and sounds an emotion or a thought, that otherwise could not be communicated, can be expressed. This is basically the idea that made me decide to combine stills with moving images: somehow, I was feeling that the stillness of the photographic image was not enough to truly convey my message or to simply create a stronger contexts around the subject matter I was analyzing. I realize that, sometimes, my videos are not “immediate”, but as Lynch perfectly explained, even when people declare not to understand a movie (or any other artwork) in reality they comprehend much more than what they are aware of. The Director says it is about intuition, something intrinsic in human nature and often externalizing those intuitions allow people to grasp a concept and this is why he always refused to provide clear explanations related to his works. As a matter of fact, Dennis Lim from The New Yorker, in his article “David Lynch’s elusive Language” quoted the Film Director who once said “As soon as you put things in words, no one ever sees the film the same way, and that’s what I hate, you know. Talking—it’s real dangerous.” (Lynch in Lim, 2015). This obsession with Language, however, was already noticeable, in a symbolic way, in his 1968 “The Alphabet”, in which a young girl is absolutely terrified by letters generated by “The Alphabet song” that she cannot catch and that, at the end of the short, left her trapped in her own bed.

David Lynch, The Alphabet, 1968, USA. Written and directed by David Lynch, produced by H. Barton Wasserman. ©David Lynch/Lynchnet, 1968.

Talking about ideas, Lynch wrote that they are thoughts and as soon as we formulate it “there is a sparkle” (Lynch, 2007) and, falling in love with that idea, the rest will simply follow. This was exactly what happened in the creation of “[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]”: I started imagining one of the scenes and then, like a “stream of consciousness” everything started arising in my mind. I must admit I have been influenced by the work done by David Lynch in its creation: not only in the visual solution that, sometimes, might (humbly) recall his Language, but also in the way in which he captures his ideas from his deep self-awareness, deep down in the water of his soul where those big fish swim. Having the chance to observe and analyse his work since I was a child and observing how my interpretation of what I was observing changed while I was growing up and “experience life”, Lynch made me understand that there is no need to fully understand each single element of a movie or a project, what matters is “feeling” it: understanding it through our life-experience and our personality or background.

A brilliant example of this juxtaposition of known/unknown (or domestic Vs surreal), among his less known works, is the series of short horror comedy films, released online only as precise decision of the Director himself, titled “Rabbits”. The protagonists are three humanoid rabbits in a single box set that recreates the living room of a house. Conversations are often intelligible or surreal and often interrupted by laughs that nothing have to do with the context in which the characters are insert, often absurd due to a lack of continuity in the meaning of dialogues. It is not a surprise that one of the rabbits asks herself “I wonder who I will be”, mirroring viewers and the existential question they asked themselves at least once in their lives.

David Lynch, Rabbits, 2002, USA. ©David Lynch, Indipendent production.

Like he stated, “every project is an experiment” (Lynch, 2007) and it has to start at a deep level and touch the artist’s true-self to arise: a similar path, I think, is necessary to “catch” an idea.

 

References:

Lim Dennis, David Lynch’s Elusive Language, on The New Yorker, October 2015 issue https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/david-lynchs-elusive-language

Lynch David, Catching the Big Fish, meditation, consciousness and creativity, 2006, Bobkind Inc., Los Angeles, California, USA. Introduction quote from 10th Anniversary Ed., Penguin Random House LLC, 2016, New York, USA. Copyright, 2006/20016, Bobkind Inc., Pp. 1; 29.

Lynch David, Lynchnet, the David Lynch Resource, http://www.lynchnet.com/

Lynch David, Rabbits, 2002, Directed, filmed and produced by David Lynch, USA. Video released on YouTube in 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxKPBLjHAEA

Lynch David, The Alphabet, 1968, USA. Written and directed by David Lynch, produced by H. Barton Wasserman. Video released on Youtube in 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ_t1eOAipo

Lynch David, Women and Machines, 2014, Lucca Film Festival, Lucca, Italy.

Sontag Susan, Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, USA. Pp. 8.

Connecting my project and Cinema once more

FINAL PROJECT – CREATIVE REFERENCES

“I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions but when all these are removed and you can look forward, and the road is clear ahead, and now you’re going to create something. I think that’s as happy as I would ever want to be.”

– Alfred Hitchcock, 1964 –

 

Since the very beginning of my project, I found this Hitchcock’s quote very inspirational for many reasons: it doesn’t only explain my whole work in a few lines, but it perfectly portrays human condition. This is a brilliant example of the ability of great Film Directors to depict reality: artists like Hitchcock, Lynch, Von Trier, Jarmush, Chaplin and Kubrick have been able to translate in images, sounds, words and dialogues the Society we live in, individuality and the recesses of our minds and souls.

When we watch a movie, we interpret and internalise it according to our personal experience; the same can be said about photography. We read images and situations with our own eyes and it is quite improbable that we can observe them in a completely impartial way: this is something I wanted to use in my practice, I wanted viewers to provide a personal interpretation of what they see.

Observe, interpret, internalise, empathise.

Cinema had a deep influence on my practice: proceeding with the creation of new work for my project, I tried to experiment as much as I could photographically speaking, but also making a more extensive use of the moving image.

Even if I never switched from one subject matter to another, being faithful to the original proposal created at the beginning of this MA Photography at Falmouth in 2016, my imagery evolved in time and the project has been completely transformed in the way I photographed and depicted the same act and topic.

At the beginning of my work, I wanted to depict the emotional path I was portraying by using black and white triptychs only, while after I introduced “Sequences”, “Confrontation sheets” and video-materials until, using the skills I am acquiring during the Screenwriting Course I am attending at ShoreScripts LA, Lead by Richard Walter, Graduate Professor at UCLA’s Screenwriting program, I decided to create a 16-minute documentary to present my current practice, that I also submitted to various Film Festivals around the world as an independent “piece of art”.

In the creation of my stills I decided to have a less strong control on editing decision-making: once I set up the camera and defined lights and framing, I let my sitters free to express their discomfort, free to use not only their face, but their bodies too. Apart from minimum modifications in light-temperature and contrast in some cases, I decided to avoid a strong post-production of the images since I wanted viewers to experience them for what they really are: a natural process of self-expression and self-definition. While at the beginning in those triptychs I used to portray three steps only (before, during and after the act of screaming), with my new imagery I captured, as stated several times, a sequence of decisive moments to narrate the pain my subjects were releasing in a more comprehensive way. They are stories in stills: like movies, they have a beginning, a climax and an end. Here I abandoned those influences related to Mute and Noir Cinema that became natural to me in the creation of black and white images, but even in these cases the audience can observe a silent scream, a sequence frozen in time that, possibly, will make them wonder what are the stories behind them and the mysteries of those individuals’ minds.

Even if I my photographic practice is now more distant from silent movies and noir Cinema in its style, directors like Buster Keaton still have a strong impact on my work. The great contrasts in the creation of his movies generated by the juxtaposition of his typical sad facial expression Vs the represented ridiculous situations, defy the cliché of Comedy and of the performance of emotions.

Charlie Chaplin, on the other hand, followed an opposite direction: thanks to his inclusive approach and full control of the creative process, something that I tend to in the creation of my whole body of work,  he created controversial films, 1040s “The Great Dictator” among others, in which he used comedy to represent historical and social problems related to his era. He was a man of contrasts and he often included autobiographical elements in his plots, something that we can consider the starting point of my research.

At the same time, while my photographic images are now characterised by natural lights and soft-colours, my video-materials can be seen as more obscure: this is a quite peculiar situation if we consider that they are the contents providing a stronger context to my practice, depicting situations that could be defined as more “immediate” since they take place and evolve right in front of the audience’s eyes.

Into my 2017 article article “Cinema as a creative reference”, I stated “The subject matter must be discovered by observation, analysing details and provided clues, investigating human souls and understanding that sometimes ‘cold cases’ still affect my sitters’ lives and this is why they are re-examined with them during the shooting phase. In my stills, images must speak by themselves using details, expressions and movement: of course, this is a very difficult goal to achieve and this is why I am continuing experimenting to improve as a practitioner.” (Marconi, 2017). People can observe the filmed action occurring in motion and the support of music and sounds reinforce the contents allowing viewers to get more involved. These videos narrate my story and the ones of my sitters and they create a stronger boundary with Cinema. We can appreciate a representation, in different forms, of the past, of the emotions of the “protagonists”, a narration, a peak, and an ending: these are all elements we can find in the basic rules for the creation of a plot, even if, in most of my cases, those stories remains “obscure”, as previously written.

In the creation of my videos, starting from sequences of stills in motion, emotionally reinforced in their narration by the music score, to the creation of my documentary, I decided to get my pulse on the situation in a stronger way. As I had the chance to explain while discussing my role in the creation of those videos, the greatest majority of decisions were mine. I wanted lights, photography, the dialogues I wrote, framing, visual distortions, plot, some elements of music, sounds and editing to be created according to my needs and my vision: this is what a Director must do, in the end. Then, of course, I left all other elements to the expertise of my collaborators who were absolutely free to use their great professional skills to work on my indications. In the case of the documentary, we created different versions until we finally translated in images, editing and sounds what was exactly in my head since the very beginning. Of course, anyone can see there are clear cultural and visual references in its contents: David Lynch and Michael Betancourt above others.

Chris Marker, La jeteé, Drama/Short Film. Duration: 28 minutes, 1962, Argos Films, France. Music Composer: Trevor Duncan. Narrators: Jean Négroni, James Kirk. © Chris Marker, 1962.

I started this adventure with the moving image by creating the mentioned connection between the moving and still images, creating a cross section of that reality behind those screams that are the distinctive visual element of my project. I asked Elena Maro, the Italian music composer based in Los Angeles I am collaborating with in the creation of all my video-materials, to re-create in music the depicted emotional process in order to demonstrate that feelings can become audible using film score technique, used to underline and reproduce them. What she has done in the creation of the score for my videos and my documentary, could be compared to the musical improvisation done by Neil Young for Jim Jarmush’s “Dead man” Soundtrack: she started from my images, she “felt” them on an emotional level and she translated my images in music.

They are moments frozen in time that become stories again thanks to the video-montage, the music that represents an emotional status and an introductive text. In their creation, I have been inspired by the powerful Chris Marker’s 1962 “La jeteé”. Of course, the represented topic is absolutely different and its emotional impact definitely stronger if we consider its subject matter, especially. He created a sci-fi documentary using a sequence of photographs only: something that I would like to further explore in the future.

Dayana S. Marconi, I can hear you now – Emotional Score Experiment #2, 1.05 minutes, 2017. Music Composer: Elena Maro. ©Dayana Marconi 2017, Asti/Rome/Los Angeles. Copyright for this video belongs solely to Dayana Marconi.

I created a series of Video-portraits, including myself among sitters, and other more conceptual videos, inspired by the art of David Lynch and Marina Abramović, but the most extensive body of work related to the use of moving images into my project, has been the creation of the 16-minute documentary “[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]”.

As previously stated, I decided to extensively participate to all stages of its creation, like what I have previously done for “I can hear you now . Video self-portrait”, in which I was the protagonist and the filmmaker at the same time, and for “I can hear you now – emotional Reaction” in which I wasn’t only the Director and filmmaker, but also the cinematographer, defining the necessity to illuminate the protagonist with my photographic images and the sound-designer deciding to use only the sounds emitted by my video self-portrait, protagonist’s breath and some minimal environmental sounds.

As mentioned into the previous article “Cinema as creative reference”, Directors like Hitchcock and Chaplin actively participated at all levels in the creations of their movies: as scriptwriters, directors, cinematographers and actors and this distinctive approach to their work became a great source of inspiration in my creations. The role of a screenwriter is quite similar to the photographer’s one in the making of a project: they both have to find a subject matter they want to represent, and they must find the right “language” to do so. Directors, once more, have a similar role, too: they must define what the final result will be and use their expertise to make it happen.

I would not dare to compare my imagery to the great productions of the artists I am quoting in this article, but my point is that observing their production during my whole life, they had a great influence in defining who I am as a person and, hopefully, who I am becoming as an artist.

Writing about Hitchcock and Chaplin’s practice, I stated: “They were revolutionary at their times: one forcing viewers in observing the lives of others and pushing the boundaries of the emotional state of his audience, also generating uncomfortable feelings, while the other challenged them analysing controversial themes like historic and contemporary social problems. Like in their cases, my work has an experimental approach and only lately I approached to music and sounds.” (Marconi, 2017). Discussing my current practice, I often found this parallelism focusing my subject matter on Mental Health and social problems: analysing these artists’ works, as well as the ones created by many photographers, I realised how these issues remained “unsolved” through history. What happened is that the way in which some problems and situations are conceived remains basically the same in time, while only the historical environment changes. Of course, in reality like Cinema, we can observe differences according to distinct cultural backgrounds and geographical origins, but the heart of the matter does not change.

In some cases, I must admit that the influence of Cinema in my work occurred at a subconscious level. Let’s provide an example: in the cover and the poster for his “Nymphomaniac Volumes I and II – Forget about Love”, Von Trier used close-up portraits of some the protagonists performing the climax of an orgasm.

Nymphomaniac Volume II_Lars Von Trier

Lars Von Trier, Nymphomaniac Volumes I and II – Forget about Love, 2013, USA. Selection of portraits from the cover and flyer of the film. ©Lars Von Trier/Image Entertainment, Inc., 2013.

foto-urli

Dayana S. Marconi, I can hear you now – Selection of Confrontation sheets, Asti/Falmouth/Turin/Rome/Milan/Paris, EU. Snapshot. ©Dayana Marconi, 2017-2018. Copyright for this photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

The topics of our two projects apparently have no connections and yet, on the back cover of the 2013 uncensored film-release, about the “Volume II” we can read: “Von Trier has crafted what may be his magnum opus. He goes further into his often  explored themes of suffering, femininity and the breaking of social norms.” (Image Entertainment Inc., 2013). This is a clear demonstration that even a movie which has been on my shelf for years and that I have never watched before can influence my way to create images. This is something I realised for the first time one week ago, observing a group of “Confrontation sheets” used for my table of activities during my solo exhibition. I was observing many individuals screaming at the same time and I started thinking “Where did I see something similar?”. It took me a few days to find that visual source of unconscious inspiration and, considering the words mentioned here above, we can see that these two images unexpectedly conceptually fit, somehow. Doing some research, I realised that his movies “Antichrist” (2009), “Melancholia” (2011) and “Nymphomaniac vol. I and vol. II” (2013) are known as the “Depression trilogy” so, again, something related to Mental Health. As we can read into the conclusive part of Andrada Munteanu’s  essay “The aesthetics of depression in the work of Lars Von Trier”, “Cinematic depression emphasizes the characters’ inability to function as expected in today’s society. Their medicated “normality” collapses under the abnormal emotional pressure to which they are subjected. The depressed bear their burden of otherness, wavering between addiction and madness. The conflict between alterity and social mentalities is also at the core of Lars von Trier’s representations of depression.” (Munteanu, 2016).

Going back to the body of work created by Alfred Hitchcock, in his 1956 “The wrong man”, the story of a man wrongfully accused of a crime, we can observe not only the protagonist developing a sort of doomed illness, but his state is also reflected on his wife, who develops a severe depression culminating in a catatonic state as soon as she loses her hope in the future of her family. As Munteanu stated, “she convinces herself that her husband’s bad luck is her own fault. Her guilt obsession gives way to paranoid thoughts about the world as the enemy. Her anxieties reach critical level and throw her into a delirious state of mind during which she hits her husband with a hairbrush. A close-up of the husband’s face cuts to a shot of its reflection in a broken mirror and back to Rose’s perplexed face. This symbol makes the viewer aware of her distorted point of view on reality.” (Munteanu, 2016). Hitchcock was one of the first Directors depicting psychological processes in his films and he once remarked, discussing “Alfred Hitchcock presents” that “television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it” (Hitchcock, 1960). Another similarity between the Director’s approach and mine can be found in the technique of working with actors (common people in my case): in his 1963 interview with Peter Bogdanovic, he declared “I don’t direct them. I talk to them and explain to them what the scene is, what it’s purpose is, why they are doing certain things–because they relate to the story–not to the scene.” (Hitchcock, 1963). This has been exactly my approach during my whole filming experience: in most cases, I didn’t tell my sitters what to say or how to pronounce those words, I only told them what my needs were, what the scenes were about and I tried to explain my “vision”, doing my best to involve them into the representation of the subject matter using what it was already there, inside of each one of them.

A lot more can be said about the influence of Cinema in my work, starting from the process my sitters undertake to release their negative emotions and memories during the shooting phase, something similar to Lars Von Trier’s “Riget – The Kingdome”, in which characters hide, or discover in some cases, events related to their past.

Anyway, if I would have to define a Film Director who has been crucial in the development of my practice, also photographically speaking, that would be David Lynch. As I will have the chance to deeper analyse in a following article entirely dedicated to this great Film Director, his movies, TV Shows and photographic images are surreal experiments that allow viewers to encompass with their own imagination. The familiar and the unfamiliar are strictly interconnected and this creates a sense of turmoil in the audience who does not know exactly what to expect and how to interpret what they see. His characters are often an “obscure”, they function as mirrors for the observers, mirrors that sometimes force them to emotionally and psychologically deal with those parts of themselves voluntarily kept hidden due to those social norms that regulate their everyday lives and “public behaviours”. Moreover, the audience is often asked to make an effort in detecting details that cannot be seen at a first glance.

One of the most inspiring scenes of his movies, that certainly influence the creation of a section of my short documentary, was the Mulholland Drive’s “Club Silencio” scene in which a woman starts singing into an almost empty theatre. Just like her voice was a recording, an echo of a past pain that still affects her, even if in a very theatrical way, the recorded voices in four different Languages, an extract of my video “I can hear you now, four character empathising with the Author”, represents an echo of my past but, at the same time, a shared condition, represented by the doppelgänger “emerging from my soul”. She shares my pain like the two Mulholland Drive’s protagonists share the pain of the singer.

David Lynch, Mulholland Drive, Club Silencio scene, 2001, Les Films Alain Sarde, Asymmetrical Productions, StudioCanal, The Picture Factory, USA/France. Video released on Youtube on November 2016.  ©David Lynch/Lynchnet.

One last author who influenced the creation of a section of[ɪˈmaː.ɡoː]” was Michael Betancourt with his 2013 “Dancing Glithc”. In this experimental 2.5-minute duration video the artist combined the original footage of 1896 Louis Lumière’s film “Danse serpentine, vue no. 76”, created with the American dancer and choreographer Loïe Fuller and his famous Glitch technique. The score here, has been used to recreate sounds to enhance its visual impact employing a process that he defined as “a variation on the idea of “feedback” where the output of one stage becomes material to be glitched, manipulated and then mixed back into the original raw material” (Betancourt on Otherzine, 2013). My first emotional reaction to this movie was very strong and I immediately realised that I wanted something similar to be included, in a different way and with different aims, into my documentary. Thanks to the collaboration of the videomaker and editor Alessio Mattia and the music composer Elena Maro I have been able to recreate a sense of lost childhood using music, sounds and a sort of glitch.

I could provide further example about how Cinema influenced my practice, but the main one, in my opinion, is the will to go beyond and create new visual experiments using moving image and try to focus my professional practice more in this direction in the future because, as Erika Balsom stated in her “Original Copies: How Film and Videos became Art Objects”, “Today, films and videos are regularly sold as art objects […] The moving image might have once challenged the traditional museum, but in the 1990s, endowed with a new large-scale mode of display, it was recruited by museums to secure relevance in an increasingly competitive marketplace, demanding breathtaking, immersive experiences” (Balsom, 2013).

 

References:

Balsom Erika, Original Copies: How Film and Videos became Art Objects, Cinema Journal, vol 53, no. 1, Fall 2013 issue. Pp. 97-118.

Betancourt Michael, Dancing Glithc, 2013, USA, video released on Batancourt’s official Vimeo account “Cinegraphic” https://vimeo.com/cinegraphic

Betancourt Michael, The Process of Eupraxis in Making Dancing Glitch, on Otherzine, issue #32, Spring 2013 http://www.othercinema.com/otherzine/the-process-of-eupraxis-in-making-dancing-glitch-2013/

Burton Tim, Ed Wood, 1994, Touchstone Pictures, USA. Official Trailer, released on Youtube in 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CawVaHxWvnA

Chaplin Charlie, The Great Dictator, 1940, Charles Chaplin Film Corporation/United Artists, USA.

Costandi Mo, The Psychology of Alfred Hitchcock, October 2017 issue https://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/10/17/the-psychology-of-alfred-hitchcock/

Hitchcock Alfred, Alfred Hitchcock presents, 1960 on Hitchcock Zone official page https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Alfred_Hitchcock_Presents

Hitchcock Alfred, 1963 Interview with Alfred Hitchcock, with Peter Bogdanovic, originally published in Peter Bogdanovic, The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, 1963, MoMA, NY, USA. https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1999/hitchcock/interview/index.html

Hitchcock Alfred, Hitchcock’s definition of Happiness. Source: “A Talk with Alfred Hitchcock”, 1964, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation https://youtu.be/14dOICbwSIs

Hitchcock Alfred, The wrong Man, 1956, Warner Bros, USA.

Jarmush Jim, Dead Man, 1995, Demetra J. MacBride/Miramax Films, USA.

Keaton Buster, Perché era un fenomeno, Buster Keaton, on Il Post Internazionale, February 2016 Issue, Author Unknown http://www.ilpost.it/2016/02/01/perche-era-un-fenomeno-buster-keaton/

Lynch David, Lynchnet http://www.lynchnet.com/

Lynch David, Machines Abstraction & Women, 2009, Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris. Video released on Youtube on November 2009, Images and Montage by Stephan di Bernardo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1zLJU-Vv_M

Lynch David, Mulholland Drive, 2001, produced by Les Films Alain Sarde, Asymmetrical Productions, StudioCanal, The Picture Factory, USA/France.

Lumière Louis, Danse serpentine, vue no. 76, 25th November 1896, Lumière Brothers, Paris, France.

Marconi Dayana, Cinema as creative references, released on Dayana Marconi CRJ, Module Surfaces and Strategies, August 2017 issue https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/cinema-as-a-creative-reference/

Marconi Dayana S., [ɪˈmaː.ɡoː], 2018, Rome/Asti/Los Angeles, video released on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/269339225

Marker Chris, La Jetée, 1962, Argos Film, France. Released on Youtube by Whitechapel Gallery in 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6anMLFwHFqs

Maro Elena, Award winning composer for film, television and media, songwriter, singer. Official website https://www.elenamaro.com/

Mattia Alessio, videomaker, editor liligish@virgilio.it

Møldrup, C. and Knudsen, P., Lykkepiller, livsstilsmedicin og medicineret normalitet i depressionsbehandling, in Sørensen, A. and Thomsen, H.J., 2005. (ed.) Det svære liv: Om lidelsen i den moderne kultur. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Munteanu Andrada, The aesthetics of depressionin the work of Lars Von Trier, Ethical Considerations on “Depression Trilogy”, Masteroppgave i Medievitenskap Institutt for informasjons- og medievitenskap Høsten, 2016, Universitetet I Bergen, Bergen, Norway. Pp. 8, 82.

Shore Scripts, Screenwriting course page https://courses.shorescripts.com/

Young Neil, Dead Man, Dead Man OST, 1996, Vapor, USA.

Von Trier Lars, Antichrist, 2009, Zentropa Entertainments, Denmark/Germany/Belgium/UK/France.

Von Trier Lars, Melancholia, 2011, Zentropa Entertainments, Denmark | Sweden | France | Germany.

Von Trier Lars, Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II, Forget about love, 2013, Zentropa Entertainments, Denmark/Germany/Belgium/UK/France.

Von Trier Lars, Riget, 1994-1997, Denmark, Released on Youtube on September 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVkDJRTx13Y

Von Trier Lars, Riget-The Kingdom, 1994-1997, Denmark, Official Page on Imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108906/

 

Many identities making art

FINAL PROJECT – KIM NOBLE

“I don’t like being called Kim, but I have got used to it now.”

– Kim Noble, 2011 –

 

Grant Armour, The Artist with Multiple Personalities, a video-documentary about the artist Kim Noble produced by Grant Armour, Zing Tsjeng and Eloise King for Vice Media, LLC. © Vice Media, LLC, 2018.

Kim Noble is a British painter who, in 1995, has been diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), a disturb formerly known as MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). Since 2004, with the support of Dr Valerie Sinason Ph.D., she is following an art-therapy path: she has 20 main personalities and 14 of them are now painters, each one having an unique style. Like the journalist Amanda Mitchison, from The Guardian, had the chance to observe during her 2011 interview with the artist, “These personalities are all quite distinct, with their own names and ages and quirks of temperament. Some are children. Some are male.” (Mitchison, 2011). These 14 artists have “their own distinctive style, colours and themes, ranging from solitary deserts, sea scenes and abstracts to collages and paintings with traumatic content. Many alters are unaware that they share a body with other artists”, (Noble/Hudson, 2011) as her website’s biography, extracted from her book “All of me” written with the co-author Jeff Hudson, explains. Like Noble stated during her 2006 interview with Katy Weitz, from The Independent, explaining her condition: “You see Kim is just the ‘house’, the body. There isn’t a ‘Kim’ at all – she has completely split. So we answer to the name Kim but really I am Patricia. When people call us ‘Kim’ I suppose many of us just assume it’s a nickname, but once people know you they don’t use your name very often in conversation.” (Noble, 2006). At some point during her childhood, Kim Noble suffered severe and repeated abuses and her main personality split “into several parts with dissociative or amnesic barriers between them” (Noble/Hudson, 2011) in order to cope with the trauma.

I had the chance to listen to her story today for the first time when a friend published on Facebook her latest interview into the video-documentary created by Armour Grant for Vice Magazine, titled “The Artist with Multiple Personalities”, in which she discussed not only her art, showing to the camera some pieces of her work, but also the issues she had to face to obtain the custody of her daughter Aimee and how art-therapy helped her. The personality interviewed is the dominant one, Patricia, and she briefly introduced some of the other main personalities describing them in their peculiar traits. Those characteristics and different “ages and backgrounds” are even more evident once she started showing their paintings; observing them viewers might not believe they have been created by the same person, but by different artists who not only have different styles but who also use different techniques. For instance, while I would define Anon’s paintings as more “spiritual” and Karen’s ones more abstract, the personality named Ria Pratt often portrays scenes of children abused, something that eventually happened during the artist’s childhood and that the other personalities cannot remember, while most of Suzy’s pieces represent a mother with her baby.

 

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Selection of images painted by Kim Noble as Abi, Anon, Bonny, Dawn, Judy, Karen, Ken, Key, Mimi, MJ, Patricia, Ria Pratt and Suzy. Slideshow. ©Kim Noble, 2010.

Noble is the living demonstration about how art-therapy can be important for people with mental health issues: using art as a medium of communication, she did not only have the chance to find a way to release the pressure of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but she also had the chance to discover more about those personalities coexisting in her body since, due to the state of dissociation, she does not have the chance to make them communicate and each personality has no memories of what another does while “in charge”. Thanks to the support of her therapist, Dr Valerie Sinason Ph.D. (poet, writer, child psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, and consultant research psychotherapist at St George’s hospital, specialized in working with abused or abusing and dissociative patients), she learnt how to make them collaborate together not only in taking care of “their” daughter, but also in pursuing a career in the field of Art. At the beginning, anyway, she often had to explain her DID condition to those gallerists and curators who used to tell her that she still had to reach a more well-defined personal artistic style.

In my opinion, art can be beneficial to all people struggling with any kind of mental health issues, since it gives people a way to express themselves in a Society that still stigmatise or isolate them: this is why I decided to create a two-year project related to mental health and social problems, starting from a personal perspective related to the Anxiety Disorder I suffer from. As this artist found a way to express her “multiple-selves” with painting, I found in photography a tool to express my negative emotions and help myself while, in the case of “I can hear you now”, trying to help others at the same time. Like Noble, my project is choral, even in a different way: while her paintings reflect the characteristics of different personalities making art in distinct moments, in my current practice I portray several individuals following the same emotional path and I use a plurality of visual forms to reflect different aspects of the subject matter I am representing. In both situations there are diverse personalities represented, even if in the first case they are separated into a singular body and into the second one they are distinct because related to different individuals collaborating together in different ways and at different stages. There is a plurality of negative feelings that I portray using various visual solutions and they all are equally important to me, just like all main personalities coexisting into Kim Noble’s body are important to her.

Since I saw this video on Vice’s Facebook page for the first time, I also had the chance to read the related comments and, unfortunately, I noticed that many people stated things like that she is faking her mental health disorder or that she is using it to increase her popularity. I think that people nowadays are often still unable to relate with others affected by mental health issues in a constructive way, a way made of empathy, understanding and an open mind. On the other hand, I could also appreciate comments written by users having a more supportive and enthusiast approach, willing to understand and learn from what they were watching: this gave me the necessary hope to proceed with my work that, maybe, it will be perceived for what it is, meaning a way to open a constructive discussion about topics like mental health and social problems. Art can be a powerful medium to convey a message and we should simply be grateful to artists like Kim Noble who are so open to discuss not only their work but also their private lives in all their intimate aspects.

 

References:

Armour Grant, The Artist with Multiple Personalities, a video-documentary about the artist Kim Noble produced by Grant Armour, Zing Tsjeng and Eloise King for Vice Media, LLC. Published by Vice Media, LLC and uploaded on YouTube on April 3rd 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Oh1L1aN8M&feature=youtu.be

Mitchison Amanda, Kim Noble: The woman with 100 personalities, interview for The Guardian, September 2011 issue https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/30/kim-noble-woman-with-100-personalities

Noble Kim/Hudson Jeff, All of me: my incredible true story of how I learned to live with the many personalities sharing my body, 2011, Piatkus Books, Little, Brown Book Group, London, UK.

Noble Kim, official website http://www.kimnoble.com/

Sinason Valerie Dr Ph.D., official website http://valeriesinason.co.uk/

Sinason Valerie Dr Ph.D., British Psychoanalytic Council, therapist’s page https://www.bpc.org.uk/find-a-therapist/therapist/6085

Weitz Katy, Kim Noble: a woman divided, interview for The Independent, August 2006 issue https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/kim-noble-a-woman-divided-413223.html

The role of moving image

FINAL PROJECT- MOVING IMAGE

“All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.”

–   Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message (1967) –

Omar Kholeif, in his “Introduction: Navigating the Moving Image”, stated: “The field of the moving image is a spatial practice. The interplay of lights with the physical world creates a spectacle where the world becomes a hologram of itself. Here it is subject to constant imagination and reimagination. In this milieu, artists have played a defining role in shaping the form that the moving image can take. Indeed, artists’ moving-image practice, the subject of this volume, has become a phenomenon within contemporary art and culture.” (Kholeif, 2015).

In my project “I can hear you now” moving image, in multiple forms, is intertwined with stills and music to create a stronger context to the portrayed subject matter: psychological or social problems and negative emotions like grief, rage or frustration are portrayed not only by images, but movements and rhythm that reinforce the way the message is conveyed or can be perceived. My sitters and I recollect those painful memories and scream them away, but while with the photographic image the action is frozen in time, with moving image viewers can relive it as it is taking place directly in front of them.

Discussing the theories of Hal Foster, Ian Farr, in his “Introduction: Not quite how I remember it”, stated: “Artworks that he characterizes as ‘living-on’ in relation to the past can ‘restore [contemporary art’s] mnemonic dimension’. Versions of this ‘living-on’ include the ‘traumatic’ (the unburied persistence of traumatic pasts evoked in the work of artists such as Hans Haacke, Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Krysztof Wodiczko or Robert Gober), the ‘spectral’ (e.g. Rachel Whiteread’s ‘House’ of 1993, using ‘literal traces to evoke social absence’), the ‘nonsynchronous’ (i.e. history reanimated via new mediums made out of old forms, such as the installation of Stan Douglas, Kara Walker or William Kentridge) and the ‘incongruent’ (the juxtaposition of traces from different spaces, as in the work of David Hammons, Jimmie Durham, Felix Gonzales-Torres or Gabriel Orozco – here the overt ‘memory’ dimension lies in the site-specific ‘souvenirs’ their artworks leave behind).” (Farr, 2012).

A different perspective on the topic has been presented by Thomas Zummer, who wrote “In as much as it shares certain characteristics with the dream, cinema engages us in the image of the world, and we react almost if what represented resides before us.” (Zummer, 2015) and then he added discussing the role of technology “Here we are an element of the dream, linked to a specular machinery where unconscious behaviour, modifying and modified by the instrument, interactively constructs our experience.” (Zummer, 2015). Moving image does not only recreate scenes that we can watch, observe and interpret but that also call our attention because they recall something similar that we experience in our life or something that move something at an intimate level. We are more interested in those topics that, somehow, are linked or we can approach with our past experience: like those dreams that represent our subconscious, we are more keen to be interested in something that we can interpret or understand. This point is quite important, for instance, into my project since to enhance a sense of empathy in the audience, my sitters must work as a mirror. Looking at my images they must see themselves too; watching my videos, they must understand the discussed/represented topics or to emotionally “approach” them at least partially. The relationship between image and observer is mutual.

The interactive role of viewers has been also discussed by Bishop and Manacorda, who stated “At the same time as this surge of documentary-style film, photography and video in contemporary art in the last fifteen years, another approach to social engagement emerged: an art preoccupied with interactivity through which the audience was given a limited power of decision within a scheme predetermined by the artist. The unspoken consensus was that giving the viewer a collaborative role in the making of completion of the work of art served as a model of social behaviour: art would be a free space of experimentation permitting the invention of new ways of living in and interacting with the real world” (Bishop/Manacorda, 2005).

Very important is also the role of Cinema in my practice: as I had the chance to previously discuss into this CRJ, writing about the similarities between my current practice and Charlie Chaplin’s approach to film direction, “He often portrayed people fighting against adversities and he included autobiographical elements: this was exactly the starting point of my project, that has been “caused” to fight the sense of isolation generated by the anxiety disorder I suffer from.” (Marconi, 2017). This Cinema-related approach is accompanied  by the documentary one, especially in the new video materials I am currently creating and that I will further discuss into a future post. What I will do is connecting these two aspects of my work and push the boundaries of my visual experimentation. The approach intends to be similar to Morgan Fisher’s one: in his films he does not only represent specific topics but, as he affirmed in his “Statement”, his films “tend to be about the making of films” (Fisher, 1975). This is particularly interesting to me since now I am approaching my subject matter not only by representing it, but also by portraying the process of representing it.

 

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Morgan Fisher, Projection Instructions, 16mm, b&w, sound, 4 min, selection of frames. ©Morgan Fisher, 1976. Slideshow.

Fisher’s “Projection Instruction” is a sequence of instructions provided to the projectionist himself in both verbal and written form: the film consists in the result of those instructions. His films “incline to the literal and matter-of-fact. In a sense they are educational, in that they explain procedures or processes underlying film production that an audience might not be familiar with. I feel it is important for the viewers to understand how it is that a film comes into being, where it comes from, so to speak, and what it must have undergone (in the material sense) before it appears before their eyes as shadows in the screen. People should know that these phantasms are the upshot of a ponderous and refractory art. If they are not aware of it they are denied the chance to understand film as such” (Fisher, 1975).

 

References:

Ascher Rodney, Room 237, 2012. Produced by IFC Films/IFC Midnight, USA.

Bishop Claire and Manacorda Francesco, The Producer Artist, in Phil Collins: yeah… you, baby you, ed. Sinisa Mitrovic, London 2005, Milton Keynes Gallery/Shady Lane Publications. Pp. 27-27.

Ellison David, Atkinson Adam, Herdwick Common, 2015, Cumbria, UK. Produced by Shuffle and released in 2015 on David Ellison’s official website http://www.davidellison.co.uk/portfolio/herdwick-common-video/

Farr Ian, Introduction: Not quite how I remember it, Memory, Documents of Contemporary Art, Ed. By Ian Farr, London 2012, Co-published by Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited and MIT Press, Massachusetts. Pp. 20.

Fisher Morgan, Untitled Statement, first published in the October 1975 calendar for the San Francisco Cinematheque; reprinted in Morgan Fisher: Writings, ed. Sabine Folie and Susanne Titz, Cologne, 2012, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König and republished in the volume Moving Image, Documents of Contemporary Art, Ed. By Omar Kholeif, London 2015, Co-published by Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited and MIT Press, Massachusetts. Pp. 32-33.

Fisher Morgan, Projection Instructions, 16mm, b&w, sound, 4 min, 1976; transcription into the volume Moving Image, Documents of Contemporary Art, Ed. By Omar Kholeif, London 2015, Co-published by Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited and MIT Press, Massachusetts. Pp. 33-35.

Foster Hal, This funeral is for the wrong corpse, Design and Crime and Other Diatribes, London/New York 2002, Verso. Pp. 123-43.

Foster Hal, An Archival Impulse, October, no. 110 issue, Fall 2004, MIT Press Journal, Massachusetts, USA. Pp. 3-22.

Heidegger Martin, The Age of the World Picture, 1938, in The Question concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt, New York, 1977, Harper & Row, footnote 3 in source.

Kholeif Omar, Introduction: Navigating the Moving Image, Moving Image, Documents of Contemporary Art, Ed. By Omar Kholeif, London 2015, Co-published by Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited and MIT Press, Massachusetts. Pp. 13.

Kubrick Stanley, The Shining, 1980. Written by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson, produced by Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK.

Kubrick Stanley, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968. Written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Clarke, produced by Stanley Kubrick/MGM, USA/UK.

Marconi Dayana S., Cinema as a creative reference, Dayana Marconi Critical Research Journal, August 2017 issue, Milan, Italy https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/cinema-as-a-creative-reference/

Marconi Dayana S., The documentary approach, Dayana Marconi Critical Research Journal, August 2017 issue, Milan, Italy https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/the-documentary-approach/

McLuhan Marshall/Fiore Quentin, The Medium is the Message, 1967, Penguin Books, London, UK. Pp. 26.

Zummer Thomas, Projection and Dis/embodiement: Genealogies of the Virtual, 2001, in Moving Image, Documents of Contemporary Art, Ed. By Omar Kholeif, London 2015, Co-published by Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited and MIT Press, Massachusetts. Pp. 22-24.