The Lonely Spectacle
by Beauchamp Art
The Lonely Spectacle was a project organised by Nicolas Osborne as the curator of an online exhibition, featuring the works of: Henry Driver, James Elis, Bryony Goose, Elizabeth Loughan, Mattis Wiedmann, and I.
Following on from Participation, we had several meetings with Nick to punctuate the year, usually after briefing and other group meetings when we all would be in. There were originally more of us involved in the project, but as it progressed the number became more refined and tailored to the brief outlined by Nick, tying in with everyone’s practice and particularly with his Degree Show work.
Earlier ideas had involved putting on an exhibition at someone’s house, or possibly The Forum, or some other public space, to move outside of the taller, which lead on to the discussion of making an online gallery website, with contributions from the group. Thereby creating a virtual space which is open to the public, whose participation in the work is self-evident in their access.
My proposal was to have a four-panel multi-GlF display on the website, using images from my EchoReFlex project, which involved me dancing in isolation, effectively acting as an embodiment of the lonely spectacle, externally kinaesthetic with internalised escapism. This could be seen as somewhat reminiscent of Gillian Wearing’s Dancing in Peckham, but with video feedback, pounding dance music and a high-visibility jacket; within an enclosed space holding a small captive audience (though they were free to leave, and were invited to participate, but mostly refrained, thus I became the solitary mid-day raver).
The GIFs produced were made using macro photographs of a computer screen displaying part of the a version of the EchoReFlex video, in which the footage has been slowed down, with the Optical Flow blending mode applied, taking snapshots of the moment at which the footage of the figure was morphing into the solid black screen that flashed intermittently, originally in time to the BBC Slippy remix. After creating 4 versions of the GIF from the photos at degreasing speeds, and selecting a profile image and image to represent the series on the home page, suing images from the rest of the EchoReFlex series, they were sent over to Nick who compile them together into the website. However, the initial GIF files were too large, so I made compressed versions that would thus load faster, though not instantly, so as the images buffer, the frame rates of each image accelerates up to full speed.Unfortunately, we are yet to see the final site with everybody’s work uploaded or linked to it. Although Henry’s interactive game was hosted externally on his website, Bryony and had videos embed from Vimeo and YouTube, Lizzie and Mattis’ works were not yet ready by the time of submission, though we intend to see the project fully realised in the near future, as it may serve as foundations for future collaborations.
Nevertheless, the minimalistic website produced by Nick, with the buffering symbol perpetually paused in anticipation, worked well as a platform for demonstrating the disparate works in a unified fashion. The project also served as a useful grounds for regular discussion and an exchange of ideas with a number of peers, and was undoubtably helpful in the development of this project and the progress of the work produced in the second half of the third year. The final result was of secondary importance to me to the discourse that culminated in a wider expansion of concepts, as well as being a situation in which we could critique one anthers work, help with writing dissertations, and could guarantee fairly regular support if any of us were putting on our own independent events. The Lonely Spectacle was a fruitful micro-community for fitful dialogue.
Benjamin Beauchamp is a multi-disciplinary artist who relentlessly interrogates the modern Media’s increasing encroachment into the individual’s life, rights, and knowledge. Through the use of digitally manipulated imagery, either over-layering pictures, editing effects or a continuously re-capturing, Beauchamp’s work forces technology to its mechanical limits. The result is a disquieting experience. Carefully constructed videos present a chaotic bombardment of imagery. Sound oscillates between familiar tunes and distorted noise. Knowledge is dissipated. Realisation turns to apprehension in the information overload.