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  • Writer's pictureEllie Rankin

MOVING IMAGE EXPLORATIONS [The passing of time] [02/03/20]

Updated: Apr 18, 2020



After setting up the makeshift studio area in my home, I realised I wanted to simply play around with experimenting with photographing various objects from around this domestic space (that I have recently been spending a significant amount of time within) and push my knowledge and practice with regards to still life photography, as I've never really explored this area in much depth. I therefore projegreesed onto photographing a lamp, - an object that is very familiar to me, as I use everyday. After taking some deadpan shots of it, it suddenly dawned on me that I could try and capture the gradual increase in the amount of light being emitted from the bulb. I then played around with using moving image to display this progression in time. During the process, I suddenly realised that there were many elements present that were similar to the works of David Claerbout, of whom my tutor recommended looking at this week. The idea of the photographic medium, either still or moving image portraying a passage of time is something that his 2003 instillation piece 'Rocking Chair' explores. Presented below are instillation shots of the projection of the final outcome.

Words taken from : Chair

2003, double-screen interactive video installation, black & white, silent:
"From the very first idea for this piece, it seemed very important to me that the projection screen should be very flat, so that the space that is suggested between both points of view (front and rear) would be flattened. This would eliminate the assumption that “represented space” in the piece wants to compete with the “physical space” (of the room in which the projector is installed). By flattening and limiting the represented space to both sides of a projector screen, the work is left to survive through its compositional qualities. It may be a hidden indicator but I think it is an important one. It creates a usable void in the play on the movement of the woman’s head. The second thing to which to pay attention during production was establishing the sensation that the represented scene was bathed in sunlight. Thus it could distance itself from the dark that is conditional to video projection. The third point in the composition is the heaviness of a woman half asleep, half observing the spectator. As she rocks the chair, she becomes a means of measuring and dividing time into a (waiting) rhythm. This sets the mood of this piece: here is a woman that sits in a scene, presented as an actor but hardly interested in interaction or performance. She sits in the sunny warmth ticking away time, the viewer just in a dark room. In this situation the spectator must unavoidably walk past the screen to leave the room. As they take a moment to look at the back of the woman, she stops the rocking of the chair and turns to listen (not look), as if she has noticed the presence of somebody about to leave. The meeting between these virtual and real situations gives the feel of an unaccomplished encounter. The relationship between the beholder and the actor is not established."

Instillation shots


PERSONAL RESPONSE : 'One minute thirty seconds'

Despite not intentionally linking this exploration into Claerbouts works, I feel as if there are strong connection and similarities between the two pieces. Firstly the idea of questioning and exploring the relationship between stillness and time in the moving image. Both central subjects within the two pieces seem to appear as if they are static shots of a scene, whereas when the viewer becomes engaged further into the experience of the piece, they come to realise that they both in fact are moving images simply with minimal movement and motion, thus bringing attention to ideas surrounding stillness and time, and this intimate connection between the photographic medium and time.

I created this piece in response to the current situation we all are navigating around in home isolation . I aimed to portray and explore this idea of the passing of time, whether that being a quick or slow feeling, as each day to me seems to feel different. With the initial viewing of the footage it appears that no change is occurring, however when the viewer is faced with the two still images of the lamp at the start of the film and then at the end, they come to realise that there has in fact been a significant change in that 1 minute and 30 seconds.

I am aware that this exploration doesn't directionally link in with my current work and reading around our relationship with the digital image, however I thought this would help fuel and re start my motivation and feelings towards creating work in a time like this.

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