Third Mentor Meeting

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Kevin and I had our third meeting on 11/10. We discussed several specific pieces, as well as logical directions for the View-Master reels and exhibition display.

We discussed the completed Encounter video in depth, covering everything from formal considerations to broader intellectual angles, including:

  • Consideration of TV vs. cinema and their underlying paradigms.
  • Kevin was interested in the evolution of Encounter and its narrative flow. The process of events and interactions are enjoyably difficult to entangle, even ambiguous. This is compelling.
  • Encounter has the most narrative of the bunch, though it’s still operating on a semi-narrative level.
  • The repetition, overlap provide a dreamscape feel.
  • The addition of landscape-specific information and desert physicality successfully anchors it in the same ‘scape’ as the rest of the installation; an improvement over the rough cut.
  • The darkness addresses a psychological, mythological space.
  • I made many positive improvements between the rough cut and the final version,

We also discussed the interactive / digital image component, the View-Master.

I explained my reasons for choosing it:

  • The View-Master format provides a relevant, interactive method of negotiating the digital stills. Using an app, website, Processing/Arduino or specifically electronic angle may have pushed the content and concept too far away from televisual language (though they are options for future work).
  • View-Masters have been a popular way of dimensionalizing television, media and even landscape/vacation photography (site as participatory culture) for a number of years, especially during the 60s, 70s and 80s (the related period of TV I’m working with). They may also suggest nostalgia, which is fine, but they are not completely rooted in it.
  • It provides a method of interaction that speaks to the original, semi-narrative forms of the reels themselves (and to my video works).
  • It breaks the digital stills away from a simple life on paper

I also explained that I was a little worried about it being too kitschy or gimmicky. Kevin pointed out the View-Master itself has always been gimmicky, so there’s no reason to shy away from it. It fits well with the project, the language of commodified television, and the moving-stills aspect of the digital work.

He suggested that I make the reels stereoscopic-proper; fully 3D, like most of the originals reels. Kevin felt considering the three-dimensionality of the digital stills in a stereoscopic, or anaglyph manner carries contemporary importance, especially with increasing interest in 3D viewing, and in light of other artists investigating structure (like Godard’s Goodbye to Language, which intentionally breaks 3D, preventing typical resolution).

To do this, I can turn the original stills I made into 3D versions, or I can use tracking shots found in TV footage. Composites can develop spatial distance.

Kevin also encouraged me to consider ways of grouping images from the Cascade archive. I can approach the reels as entries in a system of typologies (gunfights, car chases, joshua trees, freeway shots…). He encouraged me logically group stills, so that there is some categorical relationship to the other stills in the same reel, and then to the project at large.

Videos

We discussed several of my original format and exhibition ideas for displaying video works in the installation. Kevin and I were on the same page with my final decision to present television ON television and we went over (agreed upon and expanded) my reasoning for leaving other formats behind, like:

  • Larger scale video projection references cinema, not television, and leads way from the televisual core
  • Projecting images into a self-contained space, to suggest “walking into” television, could be interesting for a future project, but my thesis makes more sense when presented on a contemporary television screen, especially in context with the paintings and View-Masters.
  • Setting up a TV / DVD player with remote and allowing the viewer to choose which video they want to watch directly references television, and could be interesting in another context, but it would shift too much emphasis on the nature of interactivity itself. Kevin pointed out that once the viewer is given creative control of video choice, the flip-through takes center stage, undermining the power of the videos as self-contained works of art. Viewers would inevitably flip around and spend more time engaged with the act of action, than with the works.
  • As with above, any kind of choose-your-own or Jukebox setting would detract from the weight of the autonomous pieces.
  • Presenting the works on a computer screen or as an app does not specifically suggest the language of television and again could be part of another project in the future.

Kevin also suggested that each video feels self-contained, though related through the larger body of work. They are individual works that should be considered as complete thoughts in themselves.

Since each video has that sense of individual impact, he felt they would be best be served with discrete screens set for each of the video. So, if I selected 7 videos, there would be 7 different television monitors cycling through the videos individually.

My idea had been to offer a single television, or a set of three televisions, each cycling through the videos on a playlist. Kevin’s suggestion makes more sense and in an optimal installation, each of the final videos would have a single TV presenting (and looping) them as discrete units. Knowing that my Cambridge installation will *not* be optimal (as in, I will likely be physically limited in the number of television sets that can be displayed), I will limit the video display to 1-3 TVs as originally planned, but I may adjust the videos shown, or the cycle of rotation, to more adequately address Kevin’s observation.

We will meet again in December, at which time we can discuss the newer version of Elevator, Rental (Requesting Backup) and any other final thoughts.

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One thought on “Third Mentor Meeting

  1. Pingback: Semester Summary, Fall 2014 | Ren Adams – AIB MFA Blog

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