17 August 2011
It has come to my attention that not everyone knows what is meant by Moving Image. I make it, and even I’m not sure how to define it. As painting is not simply pigment on canvas, equally, Moving Image/Video Art could encompass cinema, experimental video, documentation of performance art, or digital arts.
theProgressiveImage is a platform to explore the possible definition of the medium of Moving Image, at least according to me. My take is that is comes from photography – it is a quest to disembody photography, to make it exist in time rather than on paper. My own aesthetic sensibilities come from surrealist photographers, and artists with a great sense of drama and contrast, and strong visual imagery which only the lens can capture. And so I cite artists such as Man Ray, Brassai, Moholy-Nagy. More currently I would mention Susan Derges and Steve Pippin. Although of different concerns, Marina Abramovicz, for her alternative way of capturing a decisive moment. And too many others to mention.
To abstract is to summarise or epitomise. As photography puts a frame around a particular aspect of life that is there all the time, emphasising a point, eliminating irrelevancies, so Moving Image reveals what a lens can capture, and what is unfolded in time. It abstracts that moment, summarises it. I am really fixated by ideas about time, what it is, how it passes, what it leaves. The Moving Image exists in time more than other dimensions, and is a fruitful medium to explore and remake such concepts.
theProgressiveImage is a series of screenings and projects around ideas in the Moving Image, defining, exploring, imagining what it can be. Moving Image is up for definition and contextualising. Its market is variable, its value nebulous, its history being written. If artists choose the most appropriate medium to convey their intentions, why do artists choose Moving Image - why choose something that takes time to unfold, that cannot be framed or rolled away, is not performed yet waits for its moments to unfold.
A photograph that moves, perhaps. An abstract photograph that moves, and yet exists in the air, in the lighted dust swirling over our heads as a cinema projection, or like an angled reflection in a shop window.
What does Moving Image show. Not exactly what a photograph can show, otherwise it would be that photograph. It is not a film, in that it does not centre itself around filmic concerns, although, like many arts, it may borrow from them, and others. Moving Image is to do with the movement, or the travelling through time of an idea, and how it is manifest in non solid form – in visible form – a long moment, not quite the same at the end as where it started.
Moving Image is a thought, a feeling, a vision where these two aspects collide. It employs many disciplines of photography in ideas about framing, scale, focus, depth, and so on. There is time to visit the prosaic as well as other layers of meaning of such things – framing is a visual choice, both in what to include and what to exclude. It employs the artists eye, and training, and hundreds of hours of looking, seeing, seeking, capturing. The artist frames the lens around subject and composes and contextualises the image. And with Moving Image that may be frame after frame after frame, using, changing, abstracting such photographic rules. And then there are other aspects of framing – to reframe ideas in new ways, to offer a juxtaposition, or a familiarity, or an association or disassociation.
The Polyorama is an eighteenth century idea, a never-ending, ever-changing continuous landscape, made up of multiple drawings. As long as the horizon lines match up, the landscape can be rearranged endlessly. It’s a panoramic view of an imagined world, where ancient ruins can sit next to space ships, dreamy scenes or infested waters.
theLongLine invites participants to create a continuous landscape, matching three elements – Sky, Land and Sea. Whose drawing will yours sit next to – a famous artist, a child who will grow up to be a famous artist, someone from the other side of the world, a visionary, a scribbler?
theLongLine has ambitions to become a very Long Line. Started in 2011, when the world record for the longest drawing in the world stands at 9,154m (India, 2009), theLongLine will take its time, appear and reappear, tour and pop up occasionally, all the while adding to its length, its store of ideas and contributions. It all starts with one line. Where will it travel, where will your part of theLongLine be shown. How long will it all keep going?
Who is the artist of theLongLine – is it the artist who thought up the idea, the unnamed person who invented the form, all those who actually do the drawing, or whoever arranges how they are shown? Just 10 different sections of theLongLine could make 3,628,800 different landscape variations – I read this, but I still can’t believe it! Out of all those multiples of choices, how does one piece end up next to another – and will they ever meet again?