Domestic Slavery: a project influencing an art installation

FINAL PROJECT – CREATIVE REFERENCES

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Quoting the introduction to the project on Domestic Slavery’s website “In Domestic Slavery Raphael Dallaporta and Ondine Millot address an often-ignored social wrong that is related to issues of human trafficking: modern slavery. Dallaporta’s cold and stark images of ordinary-looking buildings in and around Paris, shot simply and in the same light, are combined with Ondine Millot’s texts to become chilling portraits of hidden agony. The texts describe what went on in these photographed buildings, confronting the viewer with stories of abuse and cruelty, forcing us to consider the idea that behind the façade of the ordinary can lie a discomforting reality. Dallaporta’s presentation of the unbearable idea of a person reduced to an object is heightened by the way his photographs keep their distance and his refusal to fall into the sensational. It is an approach that allows Domestic Slavery to bear witness to the banality of everyday inhumanity. Names have been changed to protect the anonymity of those featured in the text.” (Dallaporta, 2010).

His project is unique, depicting, in a very peculiar way, stories of abuse and pain. The photographer did not directly portray the victims of those crimes, but the buildings in which they took place. Providing viewers with an external point of view on the subject matter of his work, generating a strong contrast between the normality of a Paris that everyone could observe “from the outside” and an hidden reality that remained hidden, until he exposed it, that could only be seen “from the inside”. The project evolvers around the juxtaposition of a general perception Vs the reality, proving that in many cases they do not match.

Screenshot_2018-08-24 Domestic Slavery pdf

Raphael Dallaporta, Domestic Slavery, slide 1 of 12 presenting an overview on the publication. Available on Raphael Dallaporta’s official website. ©Raphael Dallaporta, 2009.

His perspective on the topic he analysed and represented inspired me during the set up of my solo exhibition at FuoriLuogo Art and Culture Residence in Asti, Italy. Being the structure, as it can be observed from previously published articles, provided with huge glass walls, I had the chance to show the images related to my series “Twelve Episodes” both from the outside and from the inside, defying the audience in finding the differences in their perception of those portraits observed from an external viewpoint, that did not give any information about their purposes, and to confront their impression in relation with the same photographs after they confronted themselves with the provided data about the context in which they have been created. I asked them “Do you see these images in the same way, now?”. I wanted my viewers to understand that, behind an external quiet façade often we can find hidden realities that might involve stories of pain, solitude and abuse, like in Dallaporta’s project. Discussing with some participants to the event, they confirmed that as soon as they acquired information related to the story behind those small images often portraying me crying in pain, their impact on them dramatically increased because while before they were simply sympathising with the depicted situation, from an “inner” perspective they had the chance to fully understand why I was in pain and how I cannot avoid this condition due to my health issues and Anxiety disorder.

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Dayana Marconi, I can hear you now, solo exhibition at FuoriLuogo Art and Culture Residence, June 2018, Asti, Italy. Images of the photographs seen from the outside and from the inside. Slideshow. ©Dayana Marconi, 2018.

The artist did not portray those buildings by exalting their architecture or location because he wanted to represent an idea of “normality” Vs the actual they were hidden: his perspective is antipodal in compared to David Moore’s “Pictures of the Real World 1987-1988” or Jim Mortram’s “Small Town inertia”, because these last two photographers “entered” those worlds made of poverty and they depicted the often sad stories of their sitters by directly photographing them. My project, then, is even more distant since I don’t only portray the suffering of the individuals involved in its creation, but also my personal story, turning my gaze on my own persona.

Dallaporta, on his website, provided the audience with an extract of his publication in different languages: twelve pages, like my mentioned portraits, that gave a clear idea of the structure of his work. Since before applying for this two-year MA Photography my alternative was an MA Criminology, I am particularly interested in these kinds of projects, possibly because of my personal history that, sometimes, asks me to find a way to be externalised while remaining hidden at some levels for potential the risk of being misjudged.

Somehow, it remembered me the publication written by political theorist Hannah Arendt introducing the concept of “The banality of evil”, in her book she focuses her attention on the trial connected to Eichmann’s deportment. The expectation was to observe a man blatantly evil, but in reality he was not different to any other individual at first sight. His defamation resided in his actions, not in his appearance that resulted quite ordinary. He was a man “doing his job” as most of the Nazis SS soldiers under trial declared but, in reality, he was a sort of “special expert”, in charge of arranging for all deportations into occupied Poland.

Similarly, even if from a different perspective and in a different historical and social context, in many cases we read about stories of “modern deportation” into Millot’s texts related to Dallaporta’s photographs, understanding that the evil is integral part of the human nature at some level and that history tends to repeat itself behind its banal appearance.

 

References:

Arendt Hannah, Eichmann in Jerusalem. A report on the banality of evil, 1963, Viking Press, New York, USA.

Dallaporta Raphael, official website http://www.raphaeldallaporta.com/

Dallaporta Raphael, Domestic slavery, 2009, Paris, Pdf extract of his publication available at the following link http://www.domesticslavery.com/Domestic%20Slavery.pdf

Dallaporta Raphael, Domestic slavery, 2010, containing texts by Ondine Millot, 2009, Fotodok, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Fuoriluogo Art and Culture Residence, I Can Hear You Now – Dayana Marconi, presentation included into Events’ calendar of the Residence, June 2018 issue http://www.fuoriluogoasti.com/eventi/?action=evrplusegister&event_id=193

Marconi Dayana, Twelve episodes, images available on “I can hear you now” project official website at the following link http://www.icanhearyounowproject.com/project/step-07-twelve-episodes/

Moore David, Pictured from the real world 1987-1988, with an essay by David Chandler, 2013, Dewi Lewis Publishing and Here Press, Stockport, UK.

Mortram Jim A., Small Town Inertia, 2017, with essays written by Lewis Bush, Paul Mason and Jamie Thrasivoulou, Bluecoat Press, Liverpool, UK.

I can hear you now: Phototherapy and Therapeutic photography

FINAL MODULE – PHOTOGRAPHIC THERAPIES

According to Judy Weiser, Founder and Director of the Phototherapy Centre in Vancouver, Canada, Psychologist, Art Therapist, consultant, trainer, University Adjunct Faculty, international lecturer, and author, considered the world authority on the techniques of Phototherapy, Therapeutic Photography, Photo-Art-Therapy, VideoTherapy and other related techniques, “Therapeutic Photography techniques are photographic practices done by people themselves (or their helpers) in situations where the skills of a trained therapist or counselor are not needed — for example, where photo-interactive activities are used to increase people’s own self-knowledge, awareness, and well-being, improve their relationships with family and others, activate positive social change, reduce social exclusion, assist rehabilitation, strengthen communities, deepen intercultural relations, lessen conflict, bring attention to issues of social injustice, sharpen visual literacy skills, enhance education, expand qualitative research and prevention methodologies, and produce other kinds of photo-based personal/emotional healing and learning.” (Weiser, 2018).

Her vision is absolutely important for my practice, focused, as stated several times, in psychologically and emotionally supporting myself, my sitters and viewers through images’ production. I wanted my camera to become a tool to engage a constructive conversation related to mental health. In most cases, people focus their attention on the word “mental” being unable to observe that in strictly correlated to the word “health”: this leads them to interpret mental health not as something to preserve and involving us all on a daily basis, not as something connected to wellbeing, but a topic related to psychological disorders only. Phototherapy can be considered, then, a powerful instrument to change this vision by actively engaging the audience, as well as those patients involved in its processes, by asking them to actively participate and use their creativity to express themselves and engage a “healing process” that could be correlated to a wide range of situations: from the effects of a past trauma to the process of physically healing from a medical condition. In my case it worked: thanks to photography, I had the chance to understand and depict those traumas I have never had the chance to fully comprehend or to deal with during traditional therapy.

Weiser continues, “Not limited to printed photographs, both PhotoTherapy and Therapeutic Photography techniques can be used with any kind of photographic imagery, both film and digital, both still and moving, therefore also in applications such as VideoTherapy, Therapeutic Videography (Therapeutic Film-making) and other related techniques.” (Weiser, 2018). This concept can be easily connected to my work involving the moving image and to the creation of my short documentary aiming to express my inner malaise, my personal story and the idea of a shared condition that can be faced in a simpler way thanks to a higher level of self-awareness.

As the writer and photographer Michael Gabriel explained in his “Can photography be used  as a form of therapy?”, “Photography is not only a form of art; it is also a means of expression and a way of communicating thoughts and feelings. A single photograph can tell a hundred different stories.” (Gabriel 2018), what the author means, in my opinion, is that a photograph generally does not represent only the subject itself, but also different layers of meaning recognisable through the photographer’s vision and that can be interpreted accordingly to the personal experience of the audience who can react to an image in many ways, providing different emotional interpretations that the author, possibly, did not even forecasted.

While “Therapeutic photography” is often a self-conducted activity without the support of a therapist, with the goal to produce positive change in individuals, a concept deeply connected to my practice until I involved the Neuropsychologist and Psychologist Martina Gerbi into my work as a sort of “professional counsellor”; “Phototherapy” is more connected to therapy practices using the photographic image to relive traumatic experiences in order to overcome and deal with a specific situation.

Many Associations, nowadays, are deeply involved in creating activities in which art can be used as a tool to improve the quality of lives of individuals. In Italy we have “Art Therapy Italiana”, a non-profit organisation using different forms of art, from painting to performing arts, in which I might have the chance to create a program related to photography thanks to the interest of Dr. Roberto Boccalon, Member of the scientific Committee of the Association, who is deeply interested in my project “I can hear you now”. In the UK we can find “PhotoVoice”, an Association aiming to “promote the ethical use of photography for positive social change, through delivering innovative participatory photography projects.” (PhotoVoice, 2018). Since they work in collaboration with communities, individuals worldwide and Organisations to create new instruments of self-advocacy and ethical communication, I am now interested in submitting my project to their attention in order to receive a feedback and, possibly, to discuss a future potential collaboration.

Another interesting project is the one lead by “Phototherapy Europe in prisons”. In their official statement, we can read “This is particularly relevant to current EU policy both with regard to decreasing reoffending rates (e.g. in the UK, Green Paper, 2010) and initiatives to make prisons safer by decreasing violence and suicide across the partner countries (e.g. Safer Custody, 2002) in the EU.  Despite addressing the need for emotional learning opportunities, to date, little to no provision has been developed in the EU.” (Phototherapy Europe in prisons, 2018). This would not only be a very interesting case-study, but also a chance to learn how to evolve my work in an environment requiring a great dose of empathy and sensitivity.

I am currently looking for new opportunities to create new projects related to mental health, by applying for a couple of interesting PhD programs with a great potential, while contacting Associations connected to Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography in order to find new ways to employ the experience acquired in this two-year MA Photography at Falmouth University.

 

References:

Art Therapy Italiana, official website https://www.arttherapyit.org/

Gabrial Michael, Can photography be used  as a form of therapy?, 2018, article available on Contrastly website https://contrastly.com/can-photography-be-used-as-a-form-of-therapy/

Gerbi Martina Dr., official website and blog https://martinagerbipsicologa.com/

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

PhotoVoice, official website https://photovoice.org/

Phototherapy Europe in prisons, official website http://www.phototherapyeuropeinprisons.eu/

Weiser Judy Dr., PhotoTherapy, Therapeutic Photography, & Related Techniques. About the ‘why’ of your photographs – and the feelings and stories they create…, on the home page of the Phototherapy Centre official website https://phototherapy-centre.com/

Medical humanities

FINAL PROJECT – INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

The mission of Medical Humanities is to change the image of modern Medicine through the contribution of different fields of knowledge and disciplines: it is an interdisciplinary approach fittingly including humanities, arts and social sciences to medical practice in order to improve the patients’ experience.

As the overview of the related MSc at the King’s College in London explains, the connections among these different disciplines want to respond to philosophical questions, like: “What can the humanities do to contribute to healthcare? How do they differ from the sciences? And what can they tell us about illness?” (King’s College, 2018).

Another definition, related to the Academic environment, is the one provided by the Research Centre at the University of Exeter: “The term medical humanities covers a range of perspectives and approaches that explore scientific knowledge, clinical practice and health-care policies, as well as experiences, narratives and representations of health and disease.Often conceived primarily in terms of humanising medical students and doctors, the medical humanities also possess the potential to offer critical insights into health and disease that are complementary, rather than antagonistic, to those provided by research in the medical sciences” (University of Exeter, 2018).

As Belinda Jack analysed in her 2015 “The rise of medical humanities”, “The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates claimed that ‘wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity’, suggesting both that medicine is an ‘art’ and that there is a crucial association between medicine and the ‘human’ dimension of the humanities” (Jack, 2015). Of course, this does not mean that medical Doctors who undertook the path of Medical Humanities must be considered better professionals than their colleagues in absolute, but it simply means that they possibly became more open to empathy, reciprocal respect, self-awareness, and a reflexive attitude in their practice: this because, as the Scottish physician, medical writer and moralist John Gregory wrote in his “Lectures on the Duties and Qualifications of a Physician”, “A gentle and humane temper, so far from being inconsistent with vigor of mind, is its usual attendant; rough and blustering manners generally accompany a weak understanding and a mean soul” (Gregory, 1772).

The involvement of Humanities in the Health Care system is very important nowadays in a social situation in which, in many cases, treatments are not equally accessible and in which mental health patients often do not receive an appropriate professional support. This is why the global charitable foundation, dedicated to improve health and research, currently the UK’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research and also founder and funder of the Wellcome Collection in Euston, in London as mentioned into a previous article, the Wellcome Trust, is taking Medical Humanities very seriously, as Belinda Jack let her readers know. She also interviewed Colin Blakemore, asking the former chief executive of the Medical Research Council, what is the general approach to this cross-discipline and what he could notice was a quite high level of hostility and prejudice in the medical environment.

Today, three years after her article, the situation is slightly changed, even if not completely. Development in the perception of this cross-disciplinary approach to Medicine is finding new supporters also thanks to publications like “The Journal of Medical Humanities”, founded at the beginning of 1980 and initially titled “Bioethics quarterly”. Into Volume 2, edited in March 1980, Arthur L Kobler, psychotherapist and member of the National Board of American Civil Liberties Union, wrote the article “Suicide: Right and Reason”, a topic I found quite “radical” if we consider that we are discussing a 38-years old publication. Dr. Kobler, in spite of the law in force at that time and the popular and clinical perspective on the act itself, decided to support the thesis that suicide is a complex concept, often involving a multifaceted series of circumstances rather than simply be the manifestation of a mental illness, like it was considered at the time. He did not mean to justify the act in any way possible, but to find a more effective way to prevent it by enhancing a deeper sense of awareness in the professionals working in the health and social care environment. This, in my opinion, is the perfect example of what Medical Humanities is: a constructive use of philosophical theories and different disciplines to guide medical staff, social assistants, psychologists and all those professional figures actively working with individuals to better comprehend the people they take care of.

A different perspective on the topic has been offered by Professor Jack Coulehan, who wrote “Medical humanities relates to, but is not identical with, the art of medicine, for which nowadays we often use the word “doctoring.” Doctoring requires communication skills, empathy, self-awareness, judgment, professionalism, and mastering the social and cultural context of personhood, illness, and health care. Learning doctoring includes a process of character formation that requires years of role modeling and guided practice. We base our claim for the importance of medical humanities on the assumption that our teaching contributes significantly to the development of doctoring skills. However, a moment’s thought should tell us that physicians of the past must have learned these skills without studying such a discipline, and many continue to do so today. Thus, whatever medical humanities is, it’s not a sine qua non for professional formation” (Coulehan, 2008), explaining that, nowadays, we no longer study philosophy or literature to become better person. Anyway, Professor Coulehan, into the same article, later added “Despite all this, medical humanities feels right. As with any new field, it’s full of enthusiastic advocates who aren’t afraid of rocking the boat. At present medical education is a patched-up old hull that could sink at any time. Boat rockers are important to help convince the rest of us that we better get to the shipyard quickly and find ourselves a new model. I suspect that humanities educators who succeed at this do so because they are sensitive and thoughtful people who care passionately about medical education and not because they know a lot about philosophy or literature. Medical humanities also points the way toward remedial education in habits of the heart. Nowadays, our culture disvalues liberal education, is skeptical of virtue, and, in particular, glorifies self-aggrandizement over altruism. Thus, today’s medical students usually lack a liberal education and often a belief in virtue. These factors make them more vulnerable to a culture of medicine that reinforces egoism, cynicism, and a sense of entitlement. Medical humanities (whatever it is) may assist students in resisting these negative forces by opening their hearts to empathy, respect, genuineness, self-awareness, and reflective practice” (Coulehan, 2008), corroborating, in spite of his own doubts, the value of Medical Humanities.

To conclude, the aim of Medical Humanities is not to “humanise” health care system, but to lead back its activities to their original purpose: the dedication to human being, enhancing a new awareness of the duties and responsibilities towards patients through observation, critical and self-analysis and a deeper form of reflection.

I think this is a very interesting perspective to consider my project “I can hear you now”, since art is one of the disciplines involved into the discourse. Can photography in general, and my specific case, be evolved in the future as a research related to Medical Humanities? My opinion is positive since, portraying the perspective of those individuals who actually benefit from health care, or mental care in some cases, assistance, professionals in these fields might have the chance to directly observe the impact of Society on human being and to be enable in observing and analyse negative emotions before they could potentially generate health issues. Moreover, they might have the chance to observe individuals portrayed from a non-medical perspective and this could touch them on a more personal level, enhancing that sense of empathy so important for Medical Humanities. In the end, from a very personal point of view, I could also provide the perspective of an individual suffering from a mental health disorder and who found in art a way to complete a personal journey leading to self-awareness and started from a traditional therapy that only partially worked in the past. My project, to conclude, might provide a dual vantage point at the same time: the one of the observer and the one of the observed, mirroring and complementing each other like those disciplines unrelated to Medicine can complement the vision of health care professionals in relation to those individuals in treatment, also preventing problems that otherwise might occur.

 

References:

Coulehan Jack Professor, What Is Medical Humanities and Why?, on LITMED Literature Arts Medicine Database, March 2008 issue https://medhum.med.nyu.edu/magazine/?p=100

Gregory John, Lectures on the Duties and Qualifications of a Physician. London, W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1772. Reprinted in McCullough LB (Ed.) John Gregory’s Writings on Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, 1998, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands. Pp. 182.

Jack Belinda, The rise of medical humanities, on The Higher Education official website, January 2015 issue https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/the-rise-of-the-medical-humanities/2018007.article

King’s College, Medical Humanities MSc, 2018, London, UK, course presentation on King’s College website   https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/medical-humanities-msc.aspx

Kobler, Arthur L., Suicide: Right and Reason, on Bioethics Quarterly, 1980, 2: 46 Kluwer Academic Publishers-Human Sciences Press, MA/CA, USA https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00917056 [archive accessed: Aug 20, 2018]

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

Springer Links, Journal of Medical Humanities, online volumes https://link.springer.com/journal/10912

University of Exeter, Inspiring Research. Medical Humanities, presentation available into the Research section of the University’s official website http://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/inspiring/keythemes/hass/medicalhumanities/

Wellcome Collection, official website https://wellcomecollection.org/

Wellcome Trust, official website https://wellcome.ac.uk/

Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings

FINAL PROJECT – CASE STUDY

Among the artworks available at the Wellcome Collection in London, there are Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings. Baker is a multi-disciplinary artist and Artistic Director of the Organisation Daily Life Ltd, founded in the 1990s to support the production and touring of her work.

Her “Wellcome Trust Diary Drawings” is an exhibition related to the artist’s experience with mental illness and recovery: once private, in time they became a way to express her thoughts and emotions, a way to communicate with different professionals and the people in her life. As stated into the Wellcome Collection website, “The drawings cover Bobby’s experiences of day hospitals, acute psychiatric wards, ‘crisis’ teams and a variety of treatments. They chart the ups and downs of her recovery, family life, work as an artist, breast cancer and just how funny all this harrowing stuff can be” (Wellcome Collection, 2009).

The same images, created between 1997 and 2008 and exhibited in 2009, have been included into the publication created the following year, including 159 drawings and watercolours selected by the artist herself among hundreds of her creations. Each image is presented as if is taken from a sketchbook, labelled with a day-number and a date, and in some cases a title. The book also includes an essay written by Marina Warner, one by Bobby and another one by her daughter Dora Whittuck, a qualified clinical psychologist and since that moment she used her fame to promote opportunities for many marginalised artists. Baker’s role in the world of art is important because she demonstrated that a genuine recovery-process through creativity is possible: she positioned herself inside her subject matter in a cross-disciplinary investigation that celebrates creativity by proving its healing powers, this is also why in her 2011 publication has been awarded as the Mind Book of the Year. Judges recognised that it provided a great literary contribution to increase understanding on mental health issues.

I think that this project could be considered definitely interesting in relation to my current practice not only because it is related to the same subject matter, but also because it is personal and multidisciplinary. While, like in my case, she also depicts other individuals, the big difference between the two bodies of work is that the perspective provided by “Diary Drawings. Mental Illness and Me” is exquisitely personal while, in my case, while portraying others I have never added anything to the actual, keeping the right distance to avoid adding layers of meaning. Moreover, while I have always used words and the moving image to add context  to what represented and to provide a wider range of information and a sort of “prompt” that the audience can use to interpret them, Baker did not include many details related to specific images but captions and this is why we cannot really have a broader sense of what they represent, observing them as a sort of collection of personal memories. Anyway, we must admit that images, in this case, are far more explicative than words to express emotions or concerns.

Bobby_Baker_Day16.jpg450x602

Bobby Baker, Diary Drawings. Mental Illness and Me, Day 165: My Psychotherapist. Image ©Bobby Baker, 2010. Photography by ©Andrew Whittuck, 2011.

Like in the case of Bobby Baker, my project could be further developed in collaboration with Art Institutions or Charities related to Mental Health, like Daily Life Ltd, or disability like Disability Arts Online. These Organisations want to support artists experiencing these health problems in first person or who want to support individuals suffering from these kind of issues and I think that having the chance to further develop my current practice might be also important to keep supporting people suffering who are willing to externalise their negative feelings or memories.

 

References:

Arts Admin, Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings. Bobby Baker, project page on Arts Admin website https://www.artsadmin.co.uk/projects/bobby-baker-s-diary-drawings

Baker Bobby, Diary Drawings. Mental Illness and Me, 2010, Profile Books, London, UK.

Daily Life Ltd, official website https://dailylifeltd.co.uk/

Disability Arts Online, official website http://disabilityarts.online/

O’Donoghue John, Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me by Bobby Baker, on Disability Arts Online, October 2011 issue https://www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/Diary-Drawings-Bobby-Baker

Wellcome Collection, Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings, March-August 2009, exhibition-page https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/bobby-bakers-diary-drawings

Bedlam: the asylum and beyond

FINAL PROJECT – THERAPEUTIC ART

The Wellcome Collection is a free Museum and Library, located nearby Euston Station in London, created with the aim of connecting science, art and life. It has been founded by the Wellcome Trust Foundation, a Charity born in 1936 thanks to Sir Henry Wellcome, and its aim is to support researchers and scientists to, as written on the Museum’s website, “take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate” (Wellcome, 2018). The starting idea was to create simply a space to host Sir Wellcome’s collection to allow professionals to learn something about the developments in Medicine, then the whole Museum expanded including also artworks related to physical and Mental Health.

Welcome collection could be definitely considered important for potential future developments of my current practice since it would give me the chance to find a lot of materials related not only to its artistic aspects, but also to the medical ones. Since I am focusing my attention on Mental Health, and emotions more broadly, I might have the chance to observe the work created around these topics so far and to conduct further researches.

Due to the fact that in my current practice I am focusing my attention on facial expressions, alongside body-language, to determine how individuality affects the way we express suffering, at the Wellcome Collection Library I might have the chance to further develop my research related to this field, not limiting it to the work done by Dr. Paul Ekman, but also analysing publications like “Future Faces”, written by the Academic Sandra Kemp. “Kemp’s fascinating study uses a combination of history and science to posit the future for the most engaging aspect of human morphology” (Bruce, 2005). Vicki Bruce added: “Manipulation or disfigurement involving the face may seem like the stuff of myth (Medusa), science fiction (Frankenstein) or performance art (plastic surgery artist Orlan), but Kemp’s book places these events in the context of new technologies and the resulting set of ethical questions. Just as sculptors and surgeons worked together to reconstruct the faces of World War II soldiers, the collaborative effort of scientists and artists will continue to push the boundary for what is both possible and acceptable when it comes to recreating the human face. Wide-ranging and arrestingly illustrated, Kemp’s book sits at the intersection of technology, medicine, cultural studies and aesthetics; it will pique the interest of anyone concerned with the politics of identity” (Bruce, 2005). This is definitely a fascinating perspective relating faces and identity: I experienced myself how changes in facial morphology and features might affect an individual. After a surgical operation to remove my left parotidis containing a tumour, my face changed; I could not recognise myself, I experienced a kind of Dysmorphic disorder since it seemed to me that the left part of my face was resulting odd, bigger than normal, almost disfigured. Even today, when my blood pressure gets higher blood clots form inside the injury and these circulation issues might still slightly deform my face and throat. This affects me psychologically since in those moments I cannot recognise myself while looking at my face into the mirror: of course this, in connection with my Anxiety Disorder, generated several panic attacks during these last years. How this could be applied to my current practice? Well, of course in the way they generated those panic attacks I portrayed in my “Twelve Episodes”, but also in the way I constantly feel ashamed of my current featured and this can also be observed into one of the self portraits contained by the “Confrontation Sheet” involving my person. Even while distressing and intense sense of grief I felt so ashamed of the consequence of the surgery that I felt the urge to cover my throat with my hand.

long-exp-screaming-Sheet4_ALTAfeelings.jpg

Dayana Marconi, “I can hear you now – Long-exposure scream, Confrontation sheet no.4” ©Dayana Marconi, 2017. Copyright for this photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

Another important publication that might support future evolutions of my project “I can hear you now”, finding new trajectories, is “This way Madness lies” published in 2016 by the curator Mike Jay and part of “Bedlam: the asylum and beyond” project at Wellcome Collection. The book “explores the meaning of madness, or mental illness, through the prism of the institution that defined it: the asylum. Combining the perspectives of doctors and patients, artists, social commentators and reformers, it tells the story of its successive incarnations… At the same time it traces the alternatives to the asylum that each era imagined, and often created” (Jay, 2016), meaning that he tried to define meaning through the “evolution” in history of those facilities defining it.

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Mike Jay, This way madness lies, 2016, images from the publication available on Mike Jay official website. Slideshow. ©Mike Jay, 2016.

All over Europe, asylums started to be deinstitutionalised during the 1960s and patients started to be treated with different therapies and, in the most severe cases of Mental Health disorders, they are now treated in different structures; anyway, as the author himself pointed out, due to the raise of Mental Health diagnosis in Modern Society, we can assume that no satisfactory options have been found so far.

“Bedlam: the asylum and beyond” exhibition has been created with the aim of demonstrating how dedicated Institutions in history moulded the concept of Mental Health in time and to rethink them completely, thanks to the informed experience of patients, former patients, doctors and artists and reformers, finding useful alternatives. The psychological connection between Mental Health and the concept of Asylum is still strong nowadays: Disorders ad psycological issues are still considered a taboo in modern Society that tends to avoid an open confrontation related to these topics in most cases. As we can read on the dedicated page of Wellcome Collection’s website, “Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space” (Wellcome Collection, 2016). All these individuals, creatives and professionals took Bethlehem Royal Hospital as an example to start a constructive conversation about Mental Health. Thanks to those artists living in first person the effects of Mental Health Disorders, like Edward Honaker or Kim Noble, who use different art-forms to express what they must face every day and the consequences of their psychological issues, we are now more aware, as spectators, of what they must go through: what needed, was to use art to reshape institutions themselves. In history, art often had a huge driving force in producing historical changes and I believe that projects like Bedlam are important because of that power as producer of social transformations.

Jessica Marlowe and members of Core Arts, a no-profit Organisation promoting positive mental health and wellbeing through creative learning, collaborated to “Bedlam: the asylum and beyond” by creating the project “Our voices”, in which “Participants used a variety of audio techniques to respond to the exhibition themes and exhibits, drawing on their own lived experience and offering unique perspectives mental health conditions, treatment, representation and social attitudes both now and in the past” (Wellcome Collection, 2016). This section, in my opinion, is absolutely important because it does not only provide further testaments related to the presented topic, but it also gives a voice to those individuals personally involved in the subject matter of the project itself. I believe that listening to those stories directly narrated by the voices of their protagonists might enhance the emotional impact of the exhibition on the audience, making them to understand that it is about the actual.

Screenshot_2018-07-31 Beyond Labels speaking for ourselves

 

Recording available on Soundcloud:

Ben Gooch, A collage of interview pieces recording individual experiences of mental health issues. Core Arts members, interviewed by Ben Gooch and edited by Jessica Marlowe, 2016. Part of the project “Our Voices” created for the exhibition “Bethlam: the asylum and beyond”. ©Gooch/Marlowe/Core Arts, 2016.

Another section of the exhibition is “Empathy Deck”, a Twitter bot commissioned by Wellcome Collection to Erica Scourti “which generates responses to tweets by its followers. It makes new ‘cards’ from an imaginary, infinite deck of possible responses, composed of images and text generated from Erica’s personal diary and various self help and therapeutic texts. Cards are a gift for the recipient at that moment in time. Empathy Deck also occasionally makes cards for itself” (Wellcome Collection, 2016). It combines text, taken from the artist’s personal diaries and from several therapeutic and self-help publications, and images inspired by the language tarots and divination. The aim was to enhance a sense of empathy in the audience, something definitely important in my current practice, raising questions about the expressions and perceptions of emotions and human interaction online, that often replace care services, nowadays.

As Danny Birchall, Digital Content Manager at Wellcome Collection explained on the museum’s website, we often blame new technologies for problems that have older roots. He added: “The nasty side of Twitter, the campaigns of bullying and harassment, is well known. Perhaps less well understood is how Twitter functions as a support network for the vulnerable. Twitter is a place where many have found it possible to talk about struggles to cope that they cannot communicate to friends or family, a place where they find affinity with others, and the kindness of strangers. Even on a public account, a whisper of despair in the middle of the night may not be meant for everyone’s eyes: we use Twitter to talk specifically and particularly to each other as well as the world in general” (Birchall, 2016). Images created in a collage-form using texts with images in the background, respond directly to Scourti followers’ contents shared on Twitter: the bot responds with empathy and wants to generate further empathy, responding to a real moment experienced by followers with one of her past life. Scourti is not really there in that specific moment, and yet she is through her past. She uses her real-life experience to help others, even if this cannot be considered as a substitute of a proper therapy since this is simply an artwork.

Observing the work done in the creation of this exhibition, I am convince, more than ever, that creating a project related to Mental Health, with the aim of supporting and investigate the emotions of portrayed individuals and of the audience at the same time and involving the collaboration of different artists and professionals was the right thing to do. Of course, I am absolutely far from the magnificence of “Bedlam: the asylum and beyond”, but in the end what matters, in my opinion, is to give a contribution.

 

References:

Birchall Danny, Automated Empathy, 2016, article published on Wellcome Collection official website https://wellcomecollection.org/visit-us/automated-empathy

Bruce Vicki, Future Face: Image, Identity, Innovation, 2005, Contrinbution on Publisher Weekly, January 2005 issue https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-86197-768-7

Core Arts, official website https://www.corearts.co.uk/

Gooch Ben/Marlowe Jessica/Core Arts, Our Voices, collage of interwiews made by Ben Gooch and edited by Jessica Marlowe available on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/wellcomecollection/beyond-labels-speaking-for-ourselves?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=wtshare&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_content=https%3A//soundcloud.com/wellcomecollection/beyond-labels-speaking-for-ourselves

Honaker Edward, official website http://www.edwardhonaker.com/

Jay Mike, official website https://mikejay.net/

Jay Mike, This way madness lies, 2016, Thames and Hudson, London, UK. Published to complement the exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond, Wellcome Collection, London, September 2016 – January 2017, London, UK.

Kemp Sandra, Future Face, 2004, Edited by Ian Jones, Contributors: Wellcome Collection, London, and Science Museum, Great Britain. Published by Wellcome Trust, London, UK, 21 pages.

Kemp Sandra, Future Face: Image, Identity, Innovation, 2004, Contributions: Vicki Bruce, Alf Linney. Published by Profile Book Ltd, London, UK. 223 pages.

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

Marlowe Jessica and Core Arts, Our Voices, part of the exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond at the Wellcome Collection Museum, London, UK.

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

Welcome Collection, official website https://wellcomecollection.org/

Wellcome Collection museum, Bedlam: the asylum and beyond, exhibition, 15th September 2016 – 15th January 2017, London, Uk. Exhibition’s page on Wellcome Collection’s website https://wellcomecollection.org/bedlam

Wellcome Collection, What is Empathy Deck?, information about the project available on Wellcome Collection’s website https://wellcomecollection.org/visit-us/about-empathy-deck

Elina Botherus: “Comma 27” at the Bloomberg SPACE

FINAL PROJECT – ARTISTIC REFERENCES

Thanks to the precious suggestions provided by Professor McMurdo, I had the chance to observe the great work done by the artist Elina Brotherus at the Bloomberg SPACE, finding the right inspiration for the creation, and the subsequent installation, of the “Twelve Episodes” section of my project.

Alongside her short film “The Black Bay Sequence”, Brotherus exhibited, during Comma 27 edition, her photographic production “Time Series IV” which is made of a series of 100 self-portraits shot each day when the photographer fell ill, being force to stay home. In spite of her health conditions, she had the perseverance to document the physical effects of medication on her physique thanks to the photographic practice.

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Elina Brotherus, Time Series IV, 2010, series exhibited for Comma 27 at Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK. Slideshow. ©Elina Brotherus, 2010.

The series has been installed along the whole balcony located into the back side of the Gallery in a long sequence covering the entire area, and showing the evolution in the changes of her figure, focusing especially on her face, where it is easier to observe how a therapy can dramatically affect an individual. During Comma 27, the artist exposed herself to the audience emotionally and physically naked, becoming the main subject of her practice but, at the same time, the observer had the impression of losing her presence due to that “massive” repetition. Her face is everywhere, but this omnipresence did not result as overwhelming: even though viewers had to face her sufferance and that the visual effect of her installation was impressive, her calm appearance and attitude almost transformed her in a silent witness of the approach and the emotional reaction of the audience to her figure, in my opinion.

Using her style as reference, I created my twelve headshots trying to show diversity in each image but balancing lights and colours, using always the same location, to shoot with a camera fixed on a tripod, in order to maintain a sort of coherence among all images. While in Brotherus’ project her stills represent the evolution of a situation, a sort of progression, in my case they represent a “loop”, the constant repetition of a situation in time. Even if they have been framed in a very similar way, they differ in style, aims and subject matter. Health is involved in both cases, but while in “Time Series IV” the illness of the author has not been specified, at least from what I could read in the information I had the chance to collect, in my case the episodes are related to panic attacks. Another difference is that the artist provided her own viewpoint, while in “Twelve episodes” I also included the one of my companion who supported me during the shooting phase: observers will look at the result of the combination of two distinct gazes that have been combined into a visual dialogue around Mental Health.

Both in “Comma 27” and my exhibitions, a symbolic video-section is present as integral part of the project and exhibitions. The difference is in the shared contents. In “The Black Bay Sequence” video, the artist was swimming naked into a freezing lake, becoming integral part of the landscape for a moment and affecting it somehow: while before she entered the scene landscape was “static”, her movements into the water left traces of her passage with those small “circular waves” that became a sort of extension of her body. She repeated the process more than once, creating a loop similar to the one present into my stills and the scene remembered me the baptism-ceremony, that in the past usually took places into rivers or other body of waters. Water, in Christianity, is a purifying symbol and that was the impression I had while watching “The Black Bay Sequence”: I had the sense she was using that repetitive process to “heal” herself in her body and in her spirit. My short documentary, instead, contains a series of cathartic moments and symbolic actions to liberate myself from the negativity my body and my soul were hosting but, at the same time, those scenes also represent how my traumas and health problems affected me at different levels. Again, the structure of the exhibitions might results similar, but they differ in contents, aims and meanings once more.

Elina Brotherus, The Black Bay Sequence, 2010, video exhibited during ‘Comma 27’ at Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK. Released on Vimeo by Elina Brotherus and commissioned by Bloomberg SPACE. ©Elina Brotherus/Bloomber SPACE, 2010.

Of course, my aim was not to print those “Twelve Episodes” in a large-format because I wanted them to be integral part of the body of work and not to make them stand above all other contents: the important thing was to find some sort of balance. I included them in two out of three of my exhibitions and I used different set-up in accordance with the space in which they have been exhibited in.

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Dayana Marconi, “I can hear you now” solo exhibition at FuoriLuogo Art and Culture Residence, June 8th-16th 2018, Asti Italy. Installation-image. Slideshow. ©Dayana Marconi, 2018.

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Dayana Marconi, “I can hear you now” at I AM HERE – HERE I AM art event at The Studio, Marks Tey, Esses, UK, July 7th 2018. Installation-image. Slideshow. ©Dayana Marconi, 2018.

While during the exhibition in Italy the images related to the episodes have been hanged taking advantage of a very peculiar space, full of grids and windows that gave me the chance to connect the outside to the inside and the ground floor to the first floor thanks to iron stairs, in Essex a very different space was available to me. In that case I had a corridor that must not only serve as a space to display my stills, but that also had to guide viewers to the room in which my short documentary was projected, alongside other video-materials, since the creation of the episodes and the sequences has been included into the narration. I had to find a way to use the narrow and long space I had and since the four still depicting the screams of four different sitters, the same ones used for “Art in Mind” at the Brick Lane Gallery in London, had a 20x30inches dimension, I decided to maintain the 10x15cm dimension of the “Twelve episodes” photographs, in order to have the chance to hang them all in a single row avoiding to “fill” the hallway too much. This second solution is more similar (in scale, of course) to the one used by Elina Brotherus at the Bloomberg SPACE. There are not double-face images created with white pass-partout and Velcro like during the solo exhibition: there is just a sequence of stills representing that mentioned loop.

 

References:

Bloomberg SPACE/London Mithraeum, new website https://www.londonmithraeum.com/

Bloomberg SPACE, Comma 27, Elina Brotherus, on Bloomberg Space official website, exhibitions by year: 2010 https://www.bloombergspace.com/elina-brotherus-comma-27/

Bloomberg SPACE/Artmap, Comma 27:Elina Brotherus, September 2010 issue https://artmap.com/bloombergspace/exhibition/comma-27-elina-brotherus-2010

Brotherus Elina, official website http://www.elinabrotherus.com/photography/

Brotherus Elina, The Black Bay Sequence, 2010, video commissioned by the Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK and released in 2010 on Elina Brotherus’ Vimeo page https://vimeo.com/282268970

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

Marconi Dayana/Morriss Maryann, I AM HERE – HERE I AM, official website https://iamhereexhibit.wordpress.com/the-event/

Marconi Dayana, “I can hear you now” project at FuoriLuogo Culture and Art Residence, article on the project’s website http://www.icanhearyounowproject.com/2018/05/30/i-can-hear-you-now-project-at-fuoriluogo-culture-and-art-residence/

FuoriLuogo Art and Culture Residence, official website http://www.fuoriluogoasti.com/

Expanded Cinema

FINAL PROJECT – CREATIVE RESEARCH

According to Alan Leonard Rees, “‘Expanded cinema’ is an elastic name for many sorts of film and projection event. It is notoriously difficult to pin down or define. At full stretch, it embraces the most contradictory dimensions of film and video art, from the vividly spectacular to the starkly materialist. Stan VanDerBeek’s synthetic multimedia Movie-Drome of the 1960s, for example, is in high contrast to the analytic and primal cinema of 1970s Filmaktion screenings in the UK. Some kinds of expanded cinema widen the field of vision so far that they dissolve cinema itself as a separate entity, merging it into cybernetic space, as envisaged in Gene Youngblood’s seminal book of 1970 or in Carolee Schneemann’s manifesto-like performance scripts of the same era. Other variants seek film’s ontology in the medium’s simplest elements, such as the projector lightbeam or the bare bulb. In ‘paracinema’, the notion of the film medium is itself questioned, and the cinematic is sought outside or beyond the film machine” (Rees, 2011).

“Expanded Cinema”, written by the mentioned media arts theorist Gene Youngblood in 1970, is the first publication that considers video as an art form. In his book, the author used the adjective “expanded”, since he considered the medium in a fresh way, as a form of art necessary to build a new consciousness, involving artists and the audience. Youngblood wrote that 1970s artists found themselves “at the end of the era of cinema as we’ve known it, the beginning of an era of image-exchange between man and man” (Youngblood, 1970) and, due to the constant employment of new technologies and the inclusion of new forms of artistic expression into the public domain, this statement should be considered as still current in the world of Art. His ideas could be linked to what written by Bruno Lessard 38 years later: “the prospect of a ‘future cinema’ opened the door to notions of expanded space and indeterminate forms of spectatorship that dovetailed uneasily with the 1970s theorization of the cinematic apparatus(Lessard, 2008). Youngblood considered the mass-media entertainment as an entropic system that was not adding new concepts or contents and that, subsequently, forced Cinema in expanding itself to become more complex, to stimulate the audience’s minds. Into the brief Bio introducing the publication, the birth of the author has been defined as becoming “a passenger of Spaceship Earth on May 30, 1942” (Youngblood, 1970). “Spaceship Earth” is a metaphor of the planet as a spaceship, a self-contained apparatus in which all individuals are asked to work together, as a crew, for a greater good. Starting from this first sentence, we must not be surprised if he found necessary to expand the old vision of Cinema to make it evolve in a vehicle that must be used to impart, or “broadcast”, messages and contents that matter.

In his 2003 “Cinema and the Code”, Youngblood further developed the discourse around the achievements of the moving image in the digital era, considering not only the special effects that the new medium started to allow, but also the changes and improvements in its formal possibilities, starting from the cinematic language that, at that stage of its “evolution”, could have been transformed by the medium itself. Discussing with his colleague Woody Vasulka, he arrived at the conclusion that digital images of the moving image, that Vasulka defined as “the performance of the image on the surface of a screen” (Vasulka in Youngblood, 2003), have been prefigured by other forms of visual art. He added that “With the code we can only summarize them, elaborate and unfold them, exercise modalities. Vasulka calls the code a variation machine. There are no new classes of images, there are only new variations and new epistemological and ontological conditions for generating and witnessing those variations” (Youngblood, 2003). The key-idea is that each new medium will embrace, even in the future, the Language of previous media and it will evolve and transform it adding the mentioned new “code” (variations) to their Language in a continuing and improving development.

The first elements of expansion can be found in the Underground Cinema, born as an opposition to the mainstream production and developed as a “place” for artistic research and experimentation. Even if the term is commonly related to independent films, Sheldon Renan, in his 1967 “An Introduction to the American Underground Film”, highlighted its evolution in time starting from Dadaist artworks in 1920s to the origins of Expanded Cinema. Into the chapter “What is the Underground Film?”, the author stated “Definitions are risky, for the underground films is nothing less than an explosion of cinematic styles, forms, and directions. If it can be called a genre, it is a genre that can be defined only by a cataloguing of the individual works assigned to it” (Renan, 1967). What he meant is that each one of the analysed films is a statement of the artist himself and elements like production-costs or artistic trends have nothing to do with their definition, since they can differ from one artwork to another and yet they can all still be included under the umbrella of the Underground. Renan added that out of the qualities related to the film process, like colour, lights or movement, “the film-maker is able to reproduce a reality separate from real life. This new reality may be totally controlled, and it is quite persuasive. It looks real whether it resembles actual reality or not” (Renan, 1967).

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Sheldon Renan, An Introduction to the American Underground Film, 1967, Dutton, New York, USA. Snapshots of some images from the book. Slideshow. ©Sheldon Renan, 1967.

This idea can be connected to the concept of “Expanded Cinema” expressed by Youngblood a few years later. Both authors declared the importance of contents over the medium since, to use John G. Handhardt’s words, “The spectator in the movie theatre and the reader of the novel are no longer seen as passive receivers but as, in fact, engaged in the active production of meaning” (Handhardt, 1985). As a matter of fact, Renan also remembers us that undergrounds film-makers often use “the actual”, their own lives, as subject matter, but transforming it with manipulative experiments during the filming and editing phases, in a transformative form of their personal perspective and unique vision: this might be the reason why, as Jackie Hatfield also highlighted, often the subject is central to the screen, intervening with the apparatus at the same level of the artist and the audience. To define what is a film, Renan also mentioned the work done by Andy Warhol who, in his 1964 16mm-film “Kiss” created an example of Cinema with no movements or sound, or Breer’s artistic practice who, according to my research, explored a form of Cinema with no continuity, thanks to frame-cutting technique, and who started working on abstract experimental films while creating kinetic sculptures during the 1950s in France.

KISS

Andy Warhol, Kiss, 1964, 16mm, black and white, silent film, USA. Image from the movie. Original film elements preserved by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA. ©Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018.

These examples, I think, provide a clear sense of the level of experimentation employed and we should not be surprised by the fact that these experiment took us to the cinematic expansion that started during the late 1960s; as a matter of fact, Renan himself defined the Expanded Cinema not as a particular style, but as “a name of a spirit of enquiry that is leading in different directions” (Renan, 1967) that pushed artists to work in mixed media (or inter-media) and also involving other forms of art, like Performance or performing arts.

This relation with Performance Art has also been analysed by Felicity Sparrow, who wrote “The artist-led, film co-op movement of the 1960s grew up in tandem with that decade’s artists’ “happenings” and multi-media performances in galleries, theatres and outdoor spaces, and the Fluxus interventions which embraced all art forms and were staged in lofts and public places. Simultaneously many artists and art students were abandoning painting and sculpture in favour of film (and later video), performance art and what became known as Expanded Cinema” (Sparrow. 2001). Before these movements, even the most experimental films were “experienced” in cinemas and theatres providing a sort of bi-dimensional  and non-participatory experience. Cinema-related performances and installations deeper involved the audience, transforming screenings into proper events. Nevertheless, Duncan White has been the theorist who perfectly described the new role of the audience by comparing narrative Cinema, that wanted to deny the “ontological presence of the audience” (White, 2010) to the cinematic immediacy of “a form of filmmaking that prioritizes the projection event” (White, 2010). Not only, as Kotz reminded us, all production methods have been completely rethought, but also the reproduction-process had to be completely reconsidered, including the materials used. The medium has been re-explored as a visual system and this system started to include the audience. To expand the Cinema is to expand the eye: to quote Jonas Mekas, this can be done in many ways, starting from “removing various psychological blocks” (Mekas, 1972) or those inhibitions generated by what he called our “practical culture”. I believe that this means that if the audience is integral part of this new Cinema-apparatus, the apparatus cannot be expanded if viewers’ eyes are not wide open.

The Austrian artist Valie Export made a step forward during a lecture delivered at “The Essential Frame: Austrian Independent Film 1955-2003” in London, by declaring “I have found a way to continue expanded cinema in my physical performances in which I, as the centre-point for the performance, position the human body as a sign, as a code for social and artistic expression” (Export, 2003): so we see that the relationship between the two art-forms is mutual. Another example of its reciprocal relationship with other forms of art  is the one with music. How Paul Hegarty highlighted in his “Rumour and Radiation”, video emerged from avant-garde use of sound and there are “multiple connections between experimental music and music in experimental art contexts both working as seeding ground for video” (Hegarty, 2014): Cinema expanded in other media and languages, connecting visual phenomena and forms of art while creating his own dimension. Some other artists, then, started to explore also the possibilities provided by new technologies, like in the case of multiple screen experiments mentioned by Weibel in his “Expanded Cinema, Video and Virtual Environments”: this to liberate their artistic expression from the conventions that still wanted it related to still image in general and painting, more specifically. Bellour, in his “Saving the Image: Art after Film” presented another example of these possibilities by discussing Bill Viola’s “Buried Secrets” in which, during the 46th Venice Biennale, the artist used time as the perfect intermediary between the two forms of visual art, remaking a painting thanks to a projection that transformed the Gallery space into a film theatre.

Traces of the theorised strong connections between Expanded Cinema and new technologies can be found since VanDerBeek’s 1966 Manifesto, in which points three and four are focused on the research and exploration of all existing audio-visual devices, while point five highlighted the urge to create new devices as a way to find the best combination possible to subsequently share ideas with other artists. I think that now that more than forty years have passed, it would be interesting to reconsider these points and to understand how current technologies would (or will) evolve this multi-media Cinema in continuing expansion.

 

References:

Bellour Raymond, Saving the image, in Saving the Image: Art After Film, 2003, edited by. Pavel Büchler and Tanya Leighton, Glasgow: Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), and Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Pp. 52-77.

Comenas Gary, Jonas Mekas and the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, 2014, on WarholStars.org http://www.warholstars.org/filmmakers-cinematheque-1-1961-62.html

Export Valie, Expanded Cinema as Expanded Reality, in Senses of Cinema, issue 28, October 2003 http://sensesofcinema.com/2003/peter-tscherkassky-the-austrian-avant-garde/expanded_cinema/

Hanhardt John G., The Passion for Perceiving: Expanded Forms of Film and Video Art, Art Journal 45(3): Video: The Reflexive Medium, Autumn 1985 issue. Pp 213.

Hatfield Jackie, Expanded Cinema and Narrative: Some Reasons for a Review of the Avant-Garde Debates Around Narrativity, in Millennium Film Journal, No. 39-40, Hidden Currents, New York, USA, Winter 2003 issue.

Hatfield Jackie, The Subject in Expanded Cinema, in Art in-sight, 2004, No. 11, Filmwaves, issue 24, Pp 14-18.

Hegarty Paul, Expanding Cinema, chapter 1 in Hegarty, Rumour and Radiation: Sound in Video Art, 2014, Bloomsbury Academic. Pp 2; 19-31.

Kotz Liz, X-Screen: Film Installations and Actions in the 1960s and 1970s, essay, 2004, edited by Matthias Michalka, Walther König, Cologne, Germany. Pp. 44-57.

Youngblood Gene, Cinema and the Code, 2003, essay, Communication Arts Dept., The College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. PDF, Pp. 1-17. http://www.vasulka.org/archive/Artists9/Youngblood,Gene/CinemaCode.pdf

Youngblood Gene, Cinema and the Code, 2003, in Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary after Film, edited by Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel, Cambridge, Massachussetts/The MIT Press, USA. Pp. 156-161.

Youngblood Gene, Expanded Cinema, 1970, Dutton, New York, USA. Pp. 3; 49; 59-69.

Lessard Bruno, Missed Encounters: Film Theory and Expanded Cinema, in Refractory blog, 26 Dec 2008 issue http://refractory.unimelb.edu.au/2008/12/26/missed-encounters-film-theory-and-expanded-cinema-%E2%80%93-bruno-lessard/

Marchessault Janine and Lord Susan, Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema, 208 in Moving Image. Documents of Contemporary Art, 2015, Edited by Omar Kholeif, published by Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press, London, UK. Pp. 56-57; 368.

Meigh-Andrews Chris, Expanded Cinema, chapter 4 in A History of Video Art, 2014, 2nd Edition, Bloomsbury Academic, London/New York.

Mekas Jonas, On the Expanding Eye, Village Voice, 6 Feb 1964, in Movie Journal: The Rise of the New American Cinema, 1959-71, 1972, Collier, New York, USA. Pp 118-120.

Renan Sheldon, An Introduction to the American Underground Film, 1967, Dutton, New York, USA. Pp 17-53; 227-257.

Rees Alan Leonard, Expanded Cinema: Art, Performance and Film, edited by A.L. Rees, David Curtis, Duncan White, and Stephen Ball, 2011, Tate Publishing, London, UK. 304 pp. Reviews: Utterson (Screen), MacDonald (MIRAJ).

Scheugl Hans, Expanded Cinemas Exploding, in Film Unframed: A History of Austrian Avant-Garde Cinema, 2012, Ed. Peter Tscherkassky, Vienna.

Sparrow Felicity, Light Illusions Artists and Cinema; Filmmakers and Galleries, in Vertigo Magazine, Spring 2001 issue http://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/vertigo_magazine/volume-2-issue-1-spring-2001/light-illusions-artists-and-cinema-filmmakers-and-galleries/

VanDerBeek Stan, ‘Culture: Intercom’ and Expanded Cinema: A Proposal and Manifesto, in Film Culture No. 40, Spring 1966 issue, pp 15-18; repr. in Motive, Nov 1966 issue, pp 13-23; repr. in The Tulane Drama Review, No. 11, Autumn 1966 issue, pp 38-48.

Warhol Andy, Kiss, 1964, 16mm, black and white, silent film. USA. Original film elements preserved by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

Weibel Peter, Expanded Cinema, Video and Virtual Environments, in Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary after Film, 2003, edited by Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel, MIT Press. Pp 110-124.

White Duncan, British Expanded Cinema and the ‘Live Culture’ 1969–79, Visual Culture in Britain, Volume 11, February 2010 issue. Pp 93-108.