Saturday, 18 June 2016

After Corpse - Shadow Time

In 'Corpse' a video of a forest behind the charcoal animation was revealed by the presence or shadow of the viewer onto the picture plain. Here I have experimented further with this concept layering a range of video clips projected from two sides onto a central screen.

I feel the first clip 'Shadow time forest' is my is most resolved, the interplay between hand drawn and black and white video creates a more subtle dialogue, I originally used a colour video but decided that aesthetically the combination jarred - in a bad way!

LLOYD EVANS - Shadow time forest from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

In 'Inverted Shadow' using a powerful projector from one side I was able to completely obliterate/hide the image behind. In previous experiments I had not thought it possible to completely hide an image with white light, however here I was able to achieve this. This had the effect of effectively inverting the viewers shadow, by standing in front of the projection the viewer does not obscure the image but reveal it. I was hoping to create destabilisation where what you are 'seeing' is questioned as expectations are reversed. It also encourages interaction the viewer to move around the work to see how your own own physicality creates new arrangements. The agency of the work is therefore closely tied to the actions of the viewer.

LLOYD EVANS - Inverted shadow from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

In 'Shadow time1 central screen' I used a video shot for another project which I knew would really contrast/clash with the charcoal animation. Moving round the screen to see how its effects are reversed on either side I feel the charcoal animation containing in my silhouette is particularly effective. Its as if the drawing becomes a phycological response to the more literal surroundings. The layering of this clip creates a confusing space, the pictorial space of the animation is one that recedes back into the picture plain, while the film clip rushes past from left to right. After this I intend to go back and reshoot 'Shadow time forest' in reverse so that a similar effect is achieved all be it with a more subtle contrast.

The video used in 'Shadow time1 central screen' was shot for a 'Pop my Mind' collaboration and is independently discussed in a later post.

LLOYD EVANS - Shadow time1 central screen from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

In these works I feel I am starting to get to grips with one of my central concerns of how the agency of the work requires and responds to the actions of the viewer.

I intend to explore further how layering different moving and static imagery in this way can create new narratives. In particular I will continue exploring how the hand drawn can work in juxtaposition with shot video.

Shadow time - A Bergsonian reading
In 'Shadow time' the combination of video and hand drawn animation creates both aesthetic and temporal juxtaposition, the unnatural speed of the charcoal animation contrasting with the slower time frame of the 'real' environment, just as the gestural mark-making contrasts with the representational video. Reading 'Matter and Memory' by Henri Bergson I started to formulate an understanding of this work though the lens of this text.

Bergson considered memory to be of a deeply spiritual nature; Memory is not located in the physical substances of the brain but reside in the spirit. A brain injury therefore would not erase memory but block the brains ability to process or access this information. He also theorised that there are two types of memory:

Habitude, replaying and repeating past action, not strictly recognized as representing the past, but utilizing it for the purpose of present action. This kind of memory is automatic, inscribed within the body, and serving a utilitarian purpose. this could also be described as an implicit memory.

Pure memory, on the other hand, registers the past in the form of "image-remembrance", representing the past, recognized as such. It is of a contemplative and fundamentally spiritual kind, and it is free. This is true memory. Pure memory or remembrance acknowledges that a memory was gained in the past, cannot be repeated, and is not internal to the body. this could also be described as an explicit memory.

Habitude is therefore cantered in the bodies response to ingrained/subconscious memory, while pure memory is centred in the spirit and is detached from the body. This builds on the ideas of Dualism formulated by Darcartes, however Bergson takes the divide of the body and spirit even further. For Bergson the split between mind and body is a temporal one. The spirit is the abode of the past, the body of the present; the soul or spirit is always anchored in the past, not residing in the present; lodged in the past and contemplating the present.

The articulation of time, past, present, and future finds place through the union of spirit and body. The more the spirit descends into the past, the more one becomes conscious. The more one acts automatically, the more one exists in the present, in the temporal domain of the body. True awareness necessitates the united action of body and spirit.

When viewed with this lens I see the fast, abstract, intuitive charcoal animation as residing in the body and therefore the present. It is a subconscious response to the past experience of the forest. While the hidden screen containing the video of the forest acts as a Pure memory, it is the forest remembered as it was from a detached standpoint of the present but rooted in the past, therefore: 

Video of forest - Past - Spirit

Animation of trees - Present - Body

Moving around the work the union of these two states is considered, one is always seen in relation to the other, exploring the dialogue between the two. The body and spirit, past and present unite to articulate time.

 While this 'reading' very neatly ties the the different elements of the work together I have aways found the dualist standpoint problematic, for both Descartes and Bergson the substance of the body was separate from the immaterialarity of the mind/spirit. Bergson went even further putting the mind into the temporal realm of the past.

The lineage of this standpoint can be traced back as far as Plato. Plato argued that material forms are flawed, the only 'truth' living in the realm of Pure forms, is that of disembodied ideas. Bodies to Plato were only second rate copies of that superior reality.

However according to Nietzsche abstract concepts such as thought are actually functions of biology. We think the way we do because of the kind of body we have. Here mind and body are not divided into separate realms, the body and mind are inextricably linked, our physicality goes to influence our knowledge, choices we make, and therefore our memories too.

The phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty also theorised that our access to the world around us is through our bodies. Therefore all our thinking is embodied. Consciousness comes from perceptions we have made through our bodies experience with the external world.

"Our body, to the extent that it moves about itself, that is, to the extent that it is inseparable from a view of the world and is that view itself brought into existence, is the condition of possibility, not only of the geometrical synthesis, but of all expressive operations and all acquired views which constitute the cultural world" Maurice Merleau-Ponty


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