Exhibition / Photos: Projectcejorp – Video Art with Mark Waller / Projections – Micro-Macro
by Beauchamp Art
Mark Waller Exhibition – Projectcejorp
Documentation of the pop-up exhibition with Mark Waller.
For the pop-up exhibition with Waller, we were originally going to be divided into two groups of three, with one half presenting their works before the other, as it was impractical to have all the works shown at once, due to the limit space and limited plug sockets. However, after further consideration we divided into three groups of two, with one individual in each using sound when the other was not. This resulted in me being part of the second group showing, and the order ran thusly:
Raphaella Pester and Zoe Wright
Antony Marlow and Benjamin S. Beauchamp
Will Fulton and Sarah Foyster
Raphaella, Sarah and I were the individuals using sound where as the Zoe, Antony, and Will were all silent.
The poster was created based on group discussion, and made by Mark Waller. The title was a palindrome of Project, mirrored around the ‘T’, with the subtitle consisting of all our collective suggestions, followed by the information and dates below, though listed with the original two-part structure, rather with the extra interval.
Work by Raphaella Pester.
Raphaella’s work featured a video of her interacting with a table and chair displayed on a small screen, with colour panels projected onto the other equipment, the colour panels shifting with different sections of the video, accompanied by sounds taken from YouTube; atmospheric noises and tones, that also shifted with the cuts within the TV footage.
Work by Zoe Wright
Zoe’s piece involve reflecting a projection of found historical film footage, that had been digitally compressed, onto a mirror that had be smeared with transparent glue, positioned at an angle by a step-ladder, so that the reflected projection was distorted by the opacity of the adhesive. It was also projected onto an uneven section of the space, where the windows are, and contorted into a trapezium shaped due to the foreshortening of the projection and the position of the mirror.
Zoe and Raphaella’s together worked quite well, as they were on opposite walls, and did not intrude on one another, and both featured projection onto non-linear surfaces.
Work by Antony Marlow.
Antony’s multiple projector and camera display featured multiple overlapping frames filming and projecting the same area in the corner of the space, as well as previously filmed footage of areas within the Project room, slowly shifting. Members of the audience could also participate in the display by moving in front of the cameras and projectors
Unfortunately, due to the refresh rate in my camera’s sense was not set at the same, or multiple of, the frequency of the projector image, the colours of the projections came out quite peculiarly, sometimes inverting the colour, though added another obscure level to the work, in that it was not easily documentable, and the reliability of what was being seen was questioned, and by extension, site itself, especially digital vision. As both our works involved optical experiments, they seemed to work together effectively, though due to the scale of Antony’s work (which could in theory, be considerably larger, architectural even) his did impose itself over my micro projection.
Work by Benjamin S. Beauchamp.
Work by Will Fulton.
Will’s piece involved a pixelated figure projected a life-size walking forward, becoming more and less pixelated, but never rendering a full, photo-realistic resolution. This piece worked well projected from the ground to around head-height as it imposed a further bodily element to the video when otherwise it might not be as explicitly; and by isolating the figure in darkness, they become placeless and unreal – a questionable, mediated humanity.
Work by Sarah Foyster.
Sarah’s video featured hands washing dusting cloths in a sink, with the sound of a car’s Satellite Navigation device giving directions and the accompanying driving noises, indications and so forth. For the most part, the two do not coalesce, but the viewer attempts to read a connection between the two, domestic repetitive actions; only do they come together perfectly at the conclusion, with the dusters washed, the voice announces ‘You have reached your destination’, and the video concludes.
As Sarah and Will’s works were both flat projections, they were arguably the most straightforward to display, and the only problems of cross-contamination was the amount of ambient light.
Benjamin S. Beauchamp
I chose to display a different video to the one I was originally going to show, making this decision relatively late on to a less aggressive image sequence, showing the Field film, a gradually metamorphosing circuit board animation, that I had projected through moving lenses, re-filmed, projected and warped the image with lenses again, so that sections of the original animatic could still be seen (more on the scale of an actual circuit board than if it were displayed on a large screen) though the video was distorted twofold through lenses, then was being displayed projected through a magnifying glass again, making the image even smaller; or rather, making it so the projector could show the image on a smaller scale in focus, though this required the projector to be positioned very close to the wall, so that the projector (object) was inseparable from the image (image: subject).
The use of physical lenses as a means of manipulation is intended to draw attention to the manual modifying factor of the medium, and that “all media work by ‘remediating’, that is, translating, refashioning, and reforming other media, both on the level of content and form.” [Bolter, 1999: 19]
I was also determined to use physical lenses alongside digital modification to offset one another. This was not just to contrast the perceived distance between physical and virtual, both of which are equally real in the mind of the individual, phenomenologically and psychologically speaking; but also to show the similarities between the two, primarily the potential for mediation and distortion of (visual) information, drawing attention to the affects of the medium on the viewer, and more broadly drawing attention to the filtration of selective representation. The lens also carries with it a more symbolic value; signifying attention and the gaze; though, as Bachelard observed, “attention itself is a magnifying glass.” [Bachelard, 1958: 158] The glass optically enlarges for the viewer, revealing more information about a subject, but simultaneously warping it. Therefore, it could be argued that magnification is a falsification, and attention is a bias – a prioritisation that dismisses the surrounding materials, devaluing one for the other, thereby modifying how it is perceived.
The original animation and film derived from stretch, multi-layered video clips of still images that had been modified from a photograph. This was edited using the ‘Content Aware’ fill tool (in Photoshop CS6) to generate algorithmically imagined sections of the circuit board using information from the surrounding pixels, much as the time stretching ‘Optical Flow’ blending tool (in Final Cut Pro X) estimates the content of the between-frames; the non-space between the still images.
The project screen becomes an extension of the object and inseparable from the material and mechanical means of making the image; the screen cannot fall away from the viewer, it remains present “in our normal space, the space of our body” though still function as a “window into an illusionary space […] the space of representation” [Manovich, 2001, 90-95] but it is an impossible window, a bizarre special effect animation like a hallucinatory magic lantern show.
The sound for the film/installation was a heavily modified version of a recording of myself talking about the process of making the animation (from another video in which I was having Field projector onto me whilst I spoke about it). The majority of the sound came from applying noise removal filters to the recording, then amplifying resonant frequencies, and shifting the pitch repeatedly, to create a digital sound from an organic source. This was intended to sound like some form of small collection of synthetic creatures, as if a number of minute aliens or robots were communicating with each other through some indecipherable language; that was in fact a warped version of English; that would act as a sort of synaesthesia for the animated circuit board, as if it had, indeed, come to life – conglomerating various versions together to form a phantasmagorical inorganic drone.
To display the sound, I mirrored my display of Drive at the Dematerial exhibition (for which I used the exact same equipment, taking that down for this event. This is also why I decided to show a version of Field as I had shown Drive elsewhere in the same week. Also, Drive produced a considerably amount of light that bled out from the frame, and would disrupt the other works in this small space; also, its harsh, flashing aesthetic was magnified by the reduction in scale, so it appeared to just be flashes of light, and the motion of the images were lost, although I may try displaying other works on this scale in the future, possibly using small screens rather than projectors.) For this, I positioned the speakers within the plinth, hiding them so the sound emanated from an unseen source, though was captured in the same location as the projector. By positioning the speakers within the wooden plinth, the high frequencies were also filtered out even more so than had been originally, so the low, rumbling tones came oscillating out; manually moderating the sound as I had done the visual elements, creating a more bizarre atmosphere – as if the audience was on the wrong side of the screen.
My peer, Henry Driver, did suggest that my projection was probably one of my best pieces yet, which was satisfying. I think that by giving an extensive period to think about the making of the work, reworking it and testing how it was going to be displayed thoroughly really helped with the success of the piece in itself. However, as is often problematic with my work, it could have done with its own space, as something s small and focused demands close attention, but displayed in the cramped Project space alongside Ant’s spectacular multiple projector installation, my piece shrunk away too much into the corner, and became more easily dismissed than the larger, interactive piece it was alongside.
My piece’s understated and concentrated nature should not be overlooked and dismissed as secondary, however it did hold less attention that I think it was worth, then again, we did have a very limited audience. This mostly consisted of a few fellow students who were in the studio anyway, nevertheless, they all seemed fairly positive, and the dividing of the exhibit into thirds was not too strongly objected to. However, it did mean that audience members had to leave and then return throughout the show as we transitioned between set ups, unplugging one set of works, moving a few projectors and other bits of equipment into place, and so forth. The only thing I had to do was to plug in the media player to the projector, and turn it on, however, I continued to adjust the lens/magnifying glasses for a short while until I was happy with a particular composition.
I settled on using the round glass, titled towards the projector’s lens slightly, framing the image partially, with the bottom two corners rounded off, that gave the impression of a sense of depth or a screen within the projection, much like on the old original home television sets from the 1930s; with small screens within large cabinets; thick glass and a curved screen (that used a neon tube rather than a cathode ray to create the images; long before the apparent perfection of flat-screen digital display), undermining the projector to turn it into an impractical device that produced an image considerably smaller than the projector as an object itself – displaying the image on a small scale rather than enlarged – though with digital imagery, there is no fixed scale, everything is malleable.
Compared to last year’s Waller workshop that I participated in as a assistant performer to Kirstin Bicker, as part of their Collision exhibition. However, as they were using the painting preparation area, they had more space to work with, so the works were less clustered and the audience could see all the work at once, as well as move around the works. Nevertheless, even on that occasion, there were problems of limited space. For example, our performance required us to lie on the floor, myself on top of Kirstin, which meant some people had to step awkwardly close to us, though it fed effectively into the vulnerability aspect of the piece.
I believe the show came together quite effectively, though it was not the ideal setting for anyone, especially when knocking elbows with everyone else’s work and having to stagger the showings, but I believe it made for an interesting event for audience (which was mostly the artist students) involved. Although it would have been better to have more people come along, given the limited space, and the short space of time in which we advertised it (two days), the handful of people who did come along suffice (a few of them were also my peers who I frequently discuss work with anyway, so it feeds into our discussions most effectively). Mark Waller’s role as curator and through leading the discussion that resulted in the exhibition was vital, and most stimulating. Involving a third party in collective events can help bring a sense of continuity and equilibrium to such events, and I believe that this exhibit was a successful outcome following the workshops, and as an effective culmination of ideas as well as a platform for further experiments. Indeed, I have many plan for future use of projections in making and displaying work, feeding into the other processes available to me.
- Bachelard, Gaston (1958) The Poetics of Space. First Edition Beacon Press.
- Bolter, J.D. and Gruisin, R. (1999) Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MIT Press. Cited in Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of the New Media. USA. MIT Press. 
- Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of the New Media. USA. MIT Press.