Lead artist/researchers: Anne Robinson
In, out, quick, quick slow... Que Sera is an unsettling and disrupted experience of time deconstructed through cinematic devices and catching the spectator in a circuit of traces and afterimages. The experience of sound in the work, the 'remembered song', is also immersive, pushing language to the threshold of recognisable auditory form.
Que Sera is an experimental two-screen video work exploring perceptions of time using long exposure photography and high speed filming. The sequences and images have been constructed by filming for the length of time it takes to sing a song, using a range of photographic, film and video strategies which alter frame rate and shutter speed, thus altering the duration of captured frames. The material was then reconstructed as a double sequence creating a dialectical relationship between stillness movement, clarity, blur and so on.
...it is a question of making movement itself a work; without interposition; of substituting direct signs for mediating representations; of inventing vibrations, rotations, whirlings, gravitations, dances or leaps which directly touch the mind.
(Deleuze & Guattari 1994: 9)
Painters always knew this.
Merleau-Ponty 2004: 317)
This work is part of an ongoing body of practice-led doctoral research on perception, affect and the perceived elasticity of time in our encounters with ‘painterly’ surfaces. In this research, I am seeking to understand how our subjective experience of time relates to our perception of artworks and how they 'move’ or 'affect' us - finding out what insights the languages, apparatus and technologies of the moving image have to offer on the ‘expanded moments’ experienced by artists and spectators.
The research has developed in response to questions arising from my studio practice as a painter and as an artist working with the moving image. The day to day process of working with digital frames: deconstructing and reconstructing elements of films in my studio practice, has helped me to grasp how the spatialization of time, as recorded in the visible traces of movement in painterly surfaces together with the mobile gaze may, in part, explain my experiences of altered consciousness and of temporal elasticity as a painter and as a spectator encountering paintings. I am looking at how the formations of experimental and expanded cinema can inform our understanding of how both painting and film operate with respect to temporality and about how this may also contribute to the wider understanding of human perception.
Film is a time-based medium. Working with film or video, we must impose the marks of measured 'clock-time': time-codes and distances on to the inner consciousness of continuous time that philosopher Henri Bergson terms 'durée' (Bergson 2002). Painting is also 'time-based'. Considering the painterly surface as a ‘spatial representation of time’, I am looking at how the 'affects' of painting operate with respect to movement and temporality.
Recent works such as Que Sera have been inspired by the 'structural materialist' experimental films and works of ‘expanded cinema’ made in the 1970s and 80s by film-makers and artists such as: Lis Rhodes, William Raban, Steve Farrer and Peter Gidal. Looking at these experimental works has been a key aspect of my research. I have also been engaged with Gidal's theoretical work on structural materialist film, in particular his idea that: '... In film, duration as material piece of time is the basic unit' (Gidal 1976: 3). The research also draws on theoretical material on time and perception from Bergson, Deleuze and Guattari and Merleau-Ponty's later essays. The experimental studio work in this research is fully documented to make visible the processes and experiential learning which inform the resulting art works. I intend to continue with this work beyond the doctoral research and to continue making experimental installation works and exhibiting them in the public domain.
We are still very much annoyed with out of date notions of time.
Please would you throw away your watches!
Bergson, H. (2002), The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics (trans. M. L. Andison), New York, Citadel Press
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1994), What is Philosophy (trans. G. Burchell & H. Tomlinson), London, Verso
Gidal, P. (1976), 'Theory and Definition of Structural Materialist Film' in: Structural Film Anthology, London BFI
Merleau-Ponty, M. ( 2004), 'Eye and Mind', in T. Baldwin (ed.) Maurice Merleau Ponty: basic writings, London, Routledge
Tinguely, J. (1996), 'Unititled Statement, 1961', in: Stiles, K. and Selz, P. (1996), Theories and documents in contemporary art: a sourcebook of artists' writings, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp204-206