Photos: Epitaph Projections on Artificial Grass
by Beauchamp Art
I experimented with projecting the Epitaph video onto fake grass, though I was unable to film it very effectively due to being unable to synchronise the camera and projector refresh rate; though the resulting rolling shutter strobing effect was quite interesting in itself, and maybe says more about the failure of the simulacrum than the video itself; the refilmed projection acts as a remediated window that assumes the qualities of stained glass.
However, from these experiments with using the projection in conjunction with the artificial grass samples were used to produce an interesting array of images that highlight the synthetic process of representation, the ephemerality of the project image as an object of light, made to seem more physical by its haptic realisation on the rear surface of the plastic grass; forming a curious graphical/optical seance. As well as a curious lament on the digital death, not just the death of the real of of the simulation, but the death of the relationship between multi-faceted life; the decay of the cyborg.
Post-Human theorist and philosopher Rosi Braidotti describes death in a fairly Deluzian manner, thusly; “Death is the inhuman conceptual excess, the unrepresentable, the unthinkable, and the unproductive black hole that we all feat. Yet, death is also a creative synthesis of flows, energies and perpetual becoming” [Braidotti, 2013: 131]. It is in this ebb and flow that the looping video echoes the creative destruction of the tide of information, into which the individual may be cast, or willing and acceptingly “lie silently and let time wash over us in the stillness of non-life,” accepting their insignificance; the disappearance and disruption of the self. Becoming “a virtual corpse” [Braidotti, 2013: 135-136]. However, this may be considered a rather apathetic response to the “sea of information” [Shenk, 1997: 20] that may be found in contemporary digital interactions, where as this piece is more of a agitated visual response to the anxiety of a kinaesthetic driver trapped in stasis; perpetually desiring movement but being trapped in the illusion of progress created through the continual, looping narratives rolling news feed glut.
Here the dynamic is reveals its static reality; the still photographs became animated through digital editing, projected, then re-photograph, returning them to their piece; a visual equivalent to laying to rest the products of one’s own necromancy.
Much as “portraits were a way of reducing the pain of separation […] In some degree, they even bridged the great gulf between the living and the dead” [Defleur, 1989: 72], here the portrait is that of the epitaph, the symbol of the person through written word, carved in stone, and flattened by photography, rematerialised through reprocessing virtual-astral projection.
These images are a continuation of the Epitaph Projection series, focusing more on the material details and interaction of the light on the surfaces of the plastic weave, and the surrounding area within the studio, disintegrating the image across non-linear surface and abstracting the images of headstones; dematerialising death through structuralism.
A few years ago I went about photographing a large number of gravestones as part of a project looking at the change in language use in epitaphs, but ended up abandoning the project but held onto the images. I recent was organising files and came across this fairly substantial archive of images, and turned them into a rapid animation, which I then re-processed an multi-layered to produce this lively sequences of metamorphosing colours and shape. This envied a sense of the sublime narrative of cultural lineage, how the people of one generation give way to the next, and should ever person be remembered eternal, it would be chaos. As Susan Sontag pointed out, “too much remembering […] embitters” [Sontag, 2003: 103]. Individuals have to have the potential to forget, or at the very least to ‘put out of mind’, or would be forever lost in mourning.
Facebook may become a Domesday of the dead, profiles like auto-biographical epitaphs, carved in the marble of data-mined meta-data, once the generation of digital natives are committed to the earth, an electronic echo; ghosts in the machine – naught but deconstructed bio-chemical data.
- Braidotti, Rosi. (2013) The Posthuman. Polity Press. Cambridge. UK.
- Defleur, M. and Ball-Rokeach, S. (1989) Theories of Mass Communication. Longman. New York: USA.
- Shenk, David (1997) Data Smog. Harper Collins, Abacus. London: UK.
- Sontag, Susan. (2003) Regarding The Pain Of Others. 1st Edition. Hamish Hamilton; Penguin Books. London, England.