Friday, 28 March 2014

#LiveArtHistory W5 – If we had but world enough and time: Time and Motion

This week we explored the quick and the dead – the performance and the time it takes to produce the performance. There was much emphasis on the role that photography played in stimulating artists in other media to think differently about their own relationships to image/time. This emphasis launched by re-visiting Jeff Walls 1963 ‘Sudden Gust of Wind’ – photomontage, history-painting-type photo-image: of a moment frozen, motion stopped. More challenging perhaps would be Warhol’s ‘Sleep’ five hours and twenty minute film of a friend – asleep. This, easier to engage with than Marcay’s ‘Clock’ a twenty-four hour video installation with each second a movie frame… Or Eleanor Antin’s ‘Nude’, carving her body with a 37-day crash diet – recorded four photos a day…

And suddenly we are drawing connections between stop frame animation and the still life – or as the French term them: nature morte. And we see the parallel in Art History and animation: the impact when what should be still, is quick. Hence Jason’s fighting skeletons and Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’.
The Interview: This week Chi-Wang discussed the Wooster Group Hamlet:
Three-minute postscript:
Nine minute clip:
And we were asked to recall influential Stop Frame Animation…
From when I was very young – some stop frame and some puppetry – magical – Bill and Ben – this from 1953:
Creature Comforts – Nick Parks.
Or as they put it:
This week we will explore different ways in which visual artists have engaged with time-based experience, motion and narrative. How do artists evoke ephemeral sensation in fixed images? How did the invention of photographic technologies cause artists to think about time differently? How did the invention of film compel new narrative conventions of telling time-based stories? By slicing reality into finer and finer intervals artists alter worlds into an experience that moves faster than the eye can see (and perhaps even faster than the body can consciously experience). Alternatively, the same technologies challenged artists to reconnect duration to affect by working in “real time.”

Optional Sketchbook Assignment 4: Keeping Time

Track A: Using any media you like, make a work or manipulate an image in such a way as to exhibit the process of making or unmaking as a quality of time or duration:from slow to fast, as a sequence of one thing after another, using repetition, or abrupt transitions or gaps and blanks, giving the effect of a single glance or a long slow stare or …? 
Using the same image, repeat the above two more times but differently each time… include 2-3 sentences about your process and what aspect of time or duration you wanted to convey in the work.
Track B: Write a long paragraph about something that happens very quickly (it can be something “real” that you observed or a made-up event). 
Then, write a sentence about something that takes a very long time indeed. 
Using the same events you chose to describe above, repeat steps #1 and #2 several times, rewriting the events differently each time. If you wish, select one of your texts (either one of your paragraphs or a sentence or both) and post it in this forum … include 2-3 sentences about your process and what aspect of time or duration you wanted to convey in the work.

Further Reading

Jeannene Przyblyski, “Moving Pictures: Photography, Narrative and the Paris Commune of 1871" in Vanessa Schwartz and Leo Charney, eds. Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life (UC Press, 1995)

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