Dancing Glitch

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – VISUAL INSPIRATIONS

Advertisements

While I was looking for visual inspirations in relation with the video part of my work, I discovered some amazing works done by Michael Betancourt. Alongside his work as critical and film theorist, as writer and film historian, he created an incredible body of work as visual and new-media artist, also focusing on the use of music and glitch in his experiments.

About his Glitch series, José Manuel García Perera wrote: “Betancourt’s investigation proposes a new kinetic art that becomes critical through error, mimics the real-time movement that contemporary culture demands, and uncovers the artificiality of images that mimic reality as if they wanted to replace it” (García Perera, 2016) and I found interesting the fact that the use of what is usually considered as a technical error can become integral part of the piece of art itself, an element consciously employed.

Michael Betancourt, Dancing Glitch, USA, uploaded on Michael Betancourt’s Vimeo official profile in 2013. ©Michael Betancourt, 2013.

This is a 2.5-minute duration video in which the artist combined the original footage of Louis Lumière’s film “Danse serpentine, vue no. 76”, created in 1896 in collaboration with the famous American dancer and choreographer Loïe Fuller and his Glitch technique. Linked to the score he used to recreate sounds that could enhance the visual impact of his work, he employed a process that is “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).

The final result is fascinating and surreal, it involves the viewer on a conceptual, emotional and intellectual level, asking him to re-analyse his idea of error.

Personally speaking, it created an immediate visceral reaction in me, it spoke directly to my inner-self and I felt it representative of something that is inside my soul waiting to emerge. This is that kind of visual reference that make me want to improve as video-maker in order to acquire those skills necessary to better represent what I still can’t express at the moment. That waving, floating figure, covered by a layer that recreate the idea of the corruption of an image, a complete distortion, perfectly represent who I am and my aim is to become able to be seen as myself on an artistic level.

 

References:

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

Betancourt Michael, Official Website http://michaelbetancourt.com/

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/

García Perera José Manuel, El movimiento como simulacro en el mundo virtual: Michael Betancourt y el arte de la inmediatez. Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie VII – Historia del Arte no. 4, 2016, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, pp. 143-158.

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

Public Transport, lonely people and steamed glasses

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – VISUAL RESEARCH

Since last Module, on my CRJ I started confronting interesting projects made by photographers who inspired my work as practitioner. In Module 2, my research focused on a comparison between Katy Grannan and Adam Barthos’ projects named, respectively, “Boulevard” and “Boulevards”, discovering two very different approaches to the topic. The first one rotates around people met by Grannan wandering different boulevards and who wanted to be photographed by her and the second one is about urban spaces, like empty streets and backyards. Both artists created their work in different cities and they provided me with a clear demonstration of the idea of personal and artistic interpretation applied to a subject matter and I had two great examples of interiority and personalities expressed through Photography.

During these weeks, I analysed “Tokyo Compression” by Michael Wolf and I realised there are some similarities with the photographic project titled “On the night bus”, created by Nick Turpin.

As written since the title of this article, lonely people, public transport and steamed glasses seem to be three elements that connect these two four-year duration projects. Of course, they can’t be seen and interpreted in the same way because, conceptually, they are referred to different situations.

While Wolf “focuses on the craziness of Tokyo’s underground system” (Schüle, 2010) portraying Japanese commuters constrained in those cars, Turpin’s subjects are more physically isolated in London buses, but the sense of loneliness pervades both projects’ images. While in the first case those glasses that work as a filter between the camera and the sitters are wet due to the condensation generated by thousands of passengers, in the second case it is caused by the difference of temperature between the inside and the outside, the buses and the city, even creating, in my opinion, a deeper sense of separation between two realities coexisting and colliding.

Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression Three, 2010, Tokyo, released on Youtube on February 2017. ©Michael Wolf, 2010.

In “Tokyo Compression” sitters are aware of the presence of the photographer, placed on the platform waiting for those trains to transit, in order to take his photos. In some cases, people even try to hide their identity, definitely not happy to be portrayed not having the chance to escape that situation. Those wet train-glasses enhance the sense of claustrophobia: they are breathing each other’s breath, like cells of a bigger and sick organism, we can see faces squeezed on those wet windows and traces of the hands of those passengers who left those cars before. Then, how can we see isolation in a so “overcrowded” situation? Because there is no interaction among those individuals. They do not communicate, they do not even look at each other: they almost seem in trance, trying to mentally escape that context.

Nick Turpin, On a night bus, 2016, London, released on Nick Turpin’s Vimeo page on October 2016. ©Nick Turpin, 2016.

Like into the previous one, in this project, created by Nick Turpin in London, we can observe commuters portrayed through wet glasses, but here the situation is completely different. Those windows are steamed due to the fact that the photographer took his shots during winter months and they enhance a sense of poetry rather than an “entrapment” one: his portraits almost look like paintings and those traces into the condensation seem like brush strokes made by the artist himself.  The sense of isolation we can still detect, is more melancholic, but always provided by a lack of interaction among most of his unaware sitters, even physically distant among them. They don’t even interplay with the photographer himself, since he portrayed them from a rooftop at night. His vantage point is voyeuristic, but looking at his photographs I did not feel a sense of distance between him and his subjects. The author usually travelled on those night-buses and maybe this is why we do not detect any detachment in his perspective: he basically portrayed a sort of “Community” he belongs to, like if he was observing his own situation from the outside, combining his perspective and inner-self with the one of those people.

Personally speaking, I faced both situations since I have been living in London for a while and I had the chance to travel in Tokyo by underground several times. While observing Londoners going back home after a long day of work (or, even worse, an night shift) make me feel almost nostalgic, recalling in my mind all those hours spent on silent night buses reading a book or just looking outside the window at the City passing by while wishing to reach my bed as fast as I could, I remember with a deep sense of anxiety Tokyo’s train-cars in which I used to enter with the awareness that I would have been trapped into the crowd for long minutes (they seemed hours to me!). Both projects represent brilliant references to my work, since watching at those faces is almost like looking through those individuals and detecting their emotional states, their thoughts. My aim is definitely to improve as practitioner and maybe, one day, I will create such a great body of work, too.

 

References:

Barthos Adam, Boulevards, 1. Edition 11/2005, Steidl Books, Göttingen.

Grannan Katy, Boulevard, 2011, Fraenkel Gallery, Slp Edition, San Francisco.

Schüle Christian, Tokyo Compression, Essay, 2010, Peperoni Books, Berlin, Germany, pp. 93-104.

Turpin Nick, On The Night Bus, 2016, Hoxton Minipress, London ,UK.

Turpin Nick, On The Night Bus, 2016, video released on Nick Turpin’s Vimeo page on October 2016 https://vimeo.com/user728486

Wolf Michael/Schüle Christian, Tokyo Compression Three, 2010, Peperoni Books, Berlin, Germany.

Wolf Michael, Tokyo Compression Three, video released on Youtube on February 2017.

How to disappear completely

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – PROJECTS CONFRONTATION

“That there
That’s not me
I go
Where I please

I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey
I’m not here
This isn’t happening
I’m not here”

Radiohead, “How to disappear completely”, written by Colin Charles Greenwood, Edward John O’brien, Jonathan Richard, Guy Greenwood, Philip Selway, Philip James Selway, Thomas Yorke, Thomas Edward Yorke. Copyright ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., 2000.

During this Module, analysing the work done by different artists looking for visual references, I had the chance to observe many ways in which a sitter, and his individuality, can disappear, often in a fusion with the surrounding environment.

In the past I focused my attention on Francesca Woodman’s “Space2” and on the way she often used objects like mirrors and wallpaper to partially hide her identity, becoming almost an element of the room she portrayed herself into.

Francesca  Woodman, Space2, Selection of images, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978 . ©Betty and George Woodman.

More recently, I even had the chance to analyse the work done by David Lynch in his “Women and Machines” in which the Director plays with double-exposure to create transparent female naked dissolving figures that, with their pale frailty create a contrast with the concreteness of the machinery on the background.

1502319267973-1469318928

David Lynch, Women and Machine, 2014, USA. ©Lynchnet/David Lynch, 2014.

Today, reading again my article about Spencer Tunick’s human installations, I started wondering: how to disappear completely?

I made myself this question many times in my life, since that sense of awkward linked to my relationship with others, due to my past physical disability and the anxiety disorder that still affects me, made me often desire to become actually transparent. But then I wondered: can an individual completely vanish becoming something else? How to analyse this point in a more positive way? Are there examples in Photography in which individuals disappear to create something beautiful and in which there is no trace of torment or melancholy?

I suddenly remembered Johannes Stötter’s prints I had the chance to see while in London and the use he made of body-painting, which is absolutely different compared with Tunick’s one. This Italian artist, combining colours, poses and different backgrounds, recreates natural elements such as animals, rocks and trees, but also musical instruments and landscapes.

stonebeach-bodypainting-johannes-stoetter

Johannes Stötter, Stonebeach, 2012, South Tyrol, Italy. ©Johannes Stötter, 2012.

Something different has been made by Orly Faya in her “Mergings”. She is not simply a body-painter: her works are proper ceremonies that she defines as “a unique opportunity to become ONE with yourself and the Earth in a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory way” (Faya, 2017). She considers her work as “Therapeutic Art”, mixing creativity, nature and yoga.

merging nth river

Orly Faya, Mergings, Northern Rivers, 2015, Rocky Creek, Australia. ©Orly Faya, 2015.

In this case, we don’t simply speak of pieces of Art, but healing experiences through a deeper connection of the participants with Earth.

Another variation on this theme is the concept of “Bodyscapes”. I could find different artists who created them from different perspectives and with different techniques. In these cases, we go back  to the idea of Art Installation to create landscapes using human bodies. Of course, the results are completely different from artist to artist. In his series, Carl Warner contort and manipulate bodies playing with poses, perspective and Photoshop to recreate deserts, mountains and valleys made of body-parts. Like what did in most cases by Spencer Tunick, the Londoner artist uses skin tones’ combinations to create a sense of place. The difference between the two is that he does not create live-installations while shooting: he creates those photographs during the post-production phase, starting from those different elements and details portrayed with his camera.

dsert slp men

Carl Warner, Bodyscapes, The desert of sleeping men, 2013, London, UK. ©Carl Warden, 2013.

Allan I. Teger’s “Bodyscapes” are completely different from the previous ones. He basically works in black and white and into his photographs nude bodies are often still recognizable and yet they perfectly work as landscapes in which the artist insert miniaturized subjects using small toys. His work is completely studio-based and it evolved from his studies in Social Psychology. As he stated presenting his work on his official website, “I wanted to demonstrate in art the ideas that I was studying and teaching. The theme that occupied my thoughts was one of multiple realities… In 1975 I turned to Photography as the medium to illustrate the coexistence of two realities” (Teger, 2017).

teger bds

Allan I. Teger, Bodyscapes, 1995, Philadelphia, USA. © Allan I. Teger, 1995.

He decided not to use post-production to create his photographs because he wanted to create something that could have been interpreted as “real” somehow, shooting the naked bodies and the figures on them at the same time. It is an interesting fact that my research took me to his work:  I have a similar Academic background since my BA final dissertation was related to Social Psychology; this makes me deeper understand his curiosity in exploring perception’s boundaries.

I concluded my research with the observation of the “Bodyscapes” created by Jean Paul Bourdier. The used style, here, is again completely different, but still blurring the boundaries between photography, poetry, painting and performance art. He still works completely in analog, avoiding to modify his shots in post-production: what his audience observe is exactly what was in front of his camera. Using body painting again, he employs his sitters’ skin as a canvas, creating a union with natural landscapes on a visual level. Similarly to Orly Faya, he wants to create corporeal experiences that represent the strong relationship between human body and the Cosmo. Of course, this is not made by ceremonies and yoga, but with the creation of surreal images, sometimes visually blending bodies with the landscapes and sometimes making them stand out against the backgrounds.

bourdier bs

Jean Paul Bourdier, Bodyscapes, 2005, California, USA. © Jean Paul Bourdier, 2005.

I am sure that all these references will provide my future practice with further prompts to analyse and, maybe, they will equip me with a different point of view and with a different answer to the question “How to disappear completely?”.

 

References:

Bourdier Jean Paul, Bodyscapes, on Jean Paul Bourdier official website http://www.jeanpaulbourdier.com/

Greenwood Colin Charles/O’brien Edward John/Richard Jonathan/Greenwood Guy/Selway Philip/Yorke

Thomas Edward, How to disappear completely, 2000, © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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

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

Faya Orly, Mergings, Orly Faya’s Official website http://www.orlyfaya.com/mergings1.html

Pisa Pierluigi, Carl Warner, ecco gli scatti dei “Bodyscapes” del fotografo di Liverpool, on Huffpost, July 2013 issue, http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2013/07/30/carl-warner-bodyscapes-fotografo-liverpool_n_3675747.html

Stötter Johannes, Official Website http://www.johannesstoetterart.com/

Teger Allan I., Bodyscapes, https://bodyscapes.com/pages/about-us

Tunick Spencer, official website http://www.spencertunick.com/

Warner Carl, Bodyscapes, on Carl Warner official website http://www.carlwarner.com/photographer/bodyscapes/

Woodman Francesca,  Space², 1975-1978, Providence, Rhode Island  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/woodman-space-providence-rhode-island-1975-1978-ar00350

Creating a publication: visual references

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – VISUAL REFERENCES

Alfredo Clavarino, Magari, released on Youtube by Have a nice book on December 2016. ©Alfredo Clavarino, 2015.

Magari is an Italian word that can be given at least five different meanings. It might be used to say I wish, but when speaking in the present or past, it usually means possibly, maybe. As a conjunction it can mean even, although it may also be interpreted as if only” (Clavarino, 2015).

This book is interesting for its clean and minimal layout: all included images are perfectly conceived and displayed into the book; the result is a collection of images which provide a sort of dreamy effect.

Ed Templeton, Deformer, released on Youtube by Have a nice book on October 2016. ©Ed Templeton, 2008.

Ed Templeton’s Deformer, a multi-media scrapbook of his  upbringing in suburban Orange County, California. This beautifully  designed volume, entirely art-directed by Templeton himself, is sure to  be a major work. Its photographs give a sun-drenched glimpse of what it  might be like to be young and alive in what Templeton refers to as “the  suburban domestic incubator” (Damiani Editore, 2008).

Templeton’s images are “cheeky”, honest, direct. It is intriguing how the photographer used different media and materials to create his book: it is a collection of photographic images, graphics, collages, scans of papers, notes. This last point is the one that fascinated me the most. The author provided information by both typing and handwriting them: those writings not only bear witness to the displayed images, but provide the scrapbook with a more personal style, viewers can almost think that they are reading a personal diary.

I am looking for an inspiration for the dummy copy of the book I have been asked to create for this Module and these two examples, combined, might create that perfect match I am looking for.

 

References:

Clavarino Alfredo, Magari, 2015, Self-published, printed by Yorokobu, Madrid, Spain.

Clavarino Alfredo, Magari, Book Description on Dalpine website http://www.dalpine.com/en/book/magari

Saccone Valeria, La fuerza del azar, o cómo hacer un fotolibro a los 65 años de la mano de tu hijo, Yorokobu website, November 2015 issue http://www.yorokobu.es/magari-fotolibro/

Templeton Ed, Deformer, 2008, Alleged Press and Damiani Editore, Bologna, Italy.

Templeton Ed, official website http://ed-templeton.com/

Damiani Editore, Deformer – Collector’s Edition, Ed Templeton, Catalogue, Fall 2008 issue, https://www.damianieditore.com/en-US/product/101

Visual Reference: Tokyo Compression

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – VISUAL REFERENCES

Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression, selection of images, 2010, Tokyo, Japan. © Michael Wolf, 2010.

Michael Wolf made a series of candid portraits of Japanese commuters enduring the inhuman daily crush of bodies in Tokyo’s subway cars. The results are visceral, unforgettable, and almost suffocating” (Schüle, 2010).

 

References:

Wolf Michael/Schüle Christian, Tokyo Compression, Feature page on Lens Culture https://www.lensculture.com/articles/michael-wolf-tokyo-compression

Wolf Michael/Schüle Christian, Tokyo Compression Three, 2010, Peperoni Books, Berlin, Germany.

Schüle Christian, Tokyo Compression, Essay, 2010, Peperoni Books, Berlin, Germany, pp. 93-104.

Wolf Michael, official website http://photomichaelwolf.com/#

Visual inspirations: Duane Michals

SURFACES AND STRATEGIES – VISUAL INSPIRATIONS

Duane Michals, Sequences, 1967-2014, Selection of images, gelatin silver prints, Image 2. ©Duane Michals 1960-2014.

Duane Michals, Contacts Volume 2 – The Renewal of Contemporary Photography, released on Youtube in 2011. ©Duane Michals 1960-2017.

 

References:

Michals Duane, Tublr profile http://duanemichals.tumblr.com/

Michals Duane, Contacts Volume 2 – The Renewal of Contemporary Photography, released on Youtube in 2011, released on Youtube in October 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDY4d-HqWKk&feature=youtu.be

Spencer Tunick and his human installations

SURFACESAND STRATEGIES – INDIPENDENT RESEARCH

Spencer Tunick is an American photographer who became famous for his large-scale nude photographs. In his images, a huge number of participants strip themselves to voluntary participate to his shots.

His idea is that “individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together, metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one’s views of nudity and privacy“(Tunick, 2016). Nude bodies are simply an instrument: de doesn’t focus on them, he uses them to generate something different. Each body becomes a part of something bigger, not human anymore but a natural element of a landscape.

KCOM Culture, Spencer Tunick, “Sea of Hull’ 8 minute film”, uploaded on Youtube on April 21st 2017. ©Spencer Tunick, 2017.

He uses people’s bodies characteristics to decide how to display his sitters into the scene: they are placed by skin colour, hair length, body shapes and other features registered before the planning phase on the photographer’s website thanks to a form that each volunteer has to fill to participate.

In some cases, Tunick paints participants’ bodies to create those landscape: that is the case of the “Sea of Hull”, a project created in Kingston upon Hull, UK, on July 2016 and commissioned by Ferens Art Gallery. More than 3000 individuals participated to that live collective installation wearing blue paint only and they have been placed in areas of the City related to its maritime history. The photographer, talking to Frances Perrauding during an interview for The Guardian, stated “I was very surprised to see so many older people take part and so many people who had problems walking – wheelchairs, crutches, leg braces” (Tunick, 2016): it must have been difficult for all those participants to strip themselves and wander naked in the streets of their city for hours, maybe close to other people meet every single day.

Tunick also declared: “The natural, soft vulnerable body that’s up against the concrete world, it creates a dynamic that interests me” (Tunick, 2016). The artist seems to understand the deep contrast among the delicacy of his sitters’ bodies, the solidity of the cityscape and the magnificence of the recreated landscape.

While in a project, like mine,  sitters are emotionally naked, in his projects they physically live the same condition and, after participating, one of his sitters, the 80-year-old art collector Stéphane Janssen, declared: “We are naked, but it is not important. We are equal. Big people, small people, all colours, all walks of life”.

 

References:

KCOM Culture, Sea of Hull’ 8 minute film, uploaded on April 21st 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oik-XZmcdwU

Tunick Spencer, online Catalogue on Artnet, 2016 http://www.artnet.com/awc/spencer-tunick.html

Tunick Spencer, official website http://www.spencertunick.com/

Perraudin Frances, Thousands strip naked in Hull for Spencer Tunick photographs, July 2016 issue, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/09/thousands-strip-naked-in-hull-for-spencer-tunick-photographs