02_how unoriginal?

Spent most of this week researching artists who use techniques
similar to the ones i’m interested in. You can see how crowded this field is in the Artists Link to the right.

Whilst not finding an artist directly doing my main project (yet!),
I did manage to find three artists who have done exactly some
of my sub-project ideas:

1) Jason Salavon and Jim Campbell have taken films/moving
images and averaged every frame into a single image, as I did
with Planet of the Apes and was planning on doing with other
films too.


Wizard Of Oz (Jim Campbell 2001) 

2) Idris Khan has merged Muybridge sequences and these have
been shown recently at the Victoria Miro Gallery.

Whilst a valid criticism of Khan’s work is its unoriginality
coming 10 years after Campbell & Salavon, me coming up
with exactly the same idea either shows my even worse
unoriginality, or more likely just that these ideas are around at
the moment. Whether or not i proceed with the idea depends
on whether i perceive that i’ll get anything out of it. I’m not
sure. I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter if you have the same
idea as someone else, it is what you do with it that counts, but
in the case of Digital Art it is possible to come up with not only
the same idea, but exactly (pixel for pixel) the same idea which
makes showing the work, for one thing, problematic.

In the case of the Apes saga I had in mind different means of
presentation (slide shows), and had also averaged the frames
in a different way – that is i was planning on showing a large
scale average consisting mainly of grey pixels. Campbell &
Salavon both use the same process to generate the average,
but then run it through Photoshop and a process called Auto
Levels. This accentuates the color gradations, making the
output image much more colorised. You could say this is
cheating. I do.

I’ve since done the film Vertigo and was pleased to see that
the end resulting images (the 1 minute compressed ones) were
stylistically very different from the Apes ones. Hitchcock
definitely kept the camera pretty still and used a gridded
schematic in many scenes. Here are a couple of shots.



Finally the end average of all the frames was different in texture
and color to the Apes one, but still basically grey. I’d really like
to show these images and slideshows. There are rumblings to
get a group show and film night before christmas – perhaps
these will fit the bill.

As a side issue i can see a pedagogic value in these averaging
processes, but that is for a film criticism post-graduate to pursue.

Vertigo Average of all frames:


With Auto Levels the image becomes more like Campbells:



The main lessons i’ve learnt from these reminders to my own
‘unoriginality’, is on a trivial level that i need to research my
field more closely, but more importantly i need to think deeper
into the project – that is focus more on the ‘impossible’ end
task i’ve set myself and don’t get too distracted by side
projects which may be generic blind alleys. The project i have
chosen is very much an idea whose time has just about come
and it is important to drill on with it.


Secondly this week i’ve finally got round to thinking about what
the content of the Long Exposure Sculpture is to be all about.
I’ve trusted myself not to think too hard on this. As soon as i
put some thought to it all the old ideas came back which was
gratifying – i knew there was a reason i was attracted to this
project beyond the fact that i can see that the project would
‘work’ as an art piece, fame & fortune etc…

Briefly i’ve always been interested in humans as machines of
repetitive process, for example breathing, walking, eating,
fucking, etc… broadening this to doing repetitive jobs, digging,
putting things in boxes, typing blogs, etc…broadening this to
repetitive daily cycles, work-play-rest, navigating cities,
etc… broadening this to the repetitive nature of peoples lives
as a whole.

I say repetitive, cyclical might be another word.

I’m also interested in the notion of micro-narratives in action,
for example walking a set route, or walking and then tripping
up, or finishing a meal and then pushing the plate away. The
idea that patterns of behaviour are constrained along narrative
lines which can then be disrupted or resolved.

From these notions i can begin to see specific works of long
exposure sculpture, elucidating rhythmic structure and
narrative constraint:

The nature of humans as limited active processes.


A specific idea came up this week to extract and compare,
what i’m calling, ‘ornamental’ military marches from
different countries. Need to research this.

Also need to research an architect called Absalon who
designed perfectly minimal living spaces along modernist
lines where no space is wasted. What would the trace of
someone living in his Cells look like? Ties to an older
idea to video trace my existence in my flat for 24 hours.


On a final note of my unoriginality, here is a link to Chris Lister‘s project who is a second year online student at Camberwell. I’ve certainly been keeping a close eye on his work.


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