Central to the Temporalities exhibition, Correspondence was an exhibition of newly commissioned responses to historical student film and video work from the Museum and Study Collection. Curated by Susan Trangmar and Steven Ball with responses from Paul O’Kane, it consists of moving image based installation works by current Central Saint Martins students from MA Fine Art, MA Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies and MA Art and Science.
Throughout the exhibition the original works were be screened alongside the new responses. Here the artists discuss their artworks and the archival footage which inspired them.
The Place of the White Dog - Marianne Casmose (MA Fine Art)
responding to Proper Seasons by Justin Ascott (1988).
The Place of the White Dog is an audio-visual essay that explores the fragile balances of time and how we spend it. It includes clips from the film Proper Seasons, made by Justin Ascott in 1988. Ascott’s work is a short docu-drama that follows Toby Harris, one of the last of a dying breed of gentleman tramps who shaved every day, dressed respectably, and travelled around the country seeking labouring jobs. The scarecrow in the beginning of Ascott’s film caught my interest as did the dialogue that Harris enters with it but also the romanticism that is built into the character of the tramp as in the poem The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson.
I traced the concept of a philosopher vagabond to Diogenes, one of the founders of the Cynic philosophy around 300 BC. He lived on the periphery of society and used his simple lifestyle and behaviour to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society, and he declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world. Some of the ascetic and rhetorical ideas of Cynicism later surfaced in various forms within Christianity. Cynicism was first taught in Athens at the Cynosarges gymnasium – the place of the white dog.
We’re Waiting - Diana Lloyd (MA Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies)
responding to Coasting by David Sinden (1995).
We’re Waiting is an audio-visual installation, which explores the co-creation of place through Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of melodic landscapes, in which the melody is a pulsating landscape of movement and process embodied by its inhabitants, as they resonate with a sense of becoming that unfolds over time.
David Sinden’s Coasting (1995) and Diana Lloyd’s drag, fold, talk (2017) are placed in dialogue with one another, as the installation considers how duration plays a key role in the formation of melodic landscapes. In Coasting, a sense of place inspired by UK shores is constructed as the film’s characters lie in wait for the rhythmic tides of the sea to bring in objects, sea-life, and sounds that they collect and use to playfully develop this sense of place further.
In response to Sinden’s piece, Diana Lloyd’s drag, fold, talk documents her process of facilitated public participatory improvisation, which co-creates an alternative and makeshift place that is always changing for the duration of the Complex Topography: The Pavilion project for the Folkestone Triennial, 2017 (a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and Tokyo University of the Arts). Sited on The Leas cliff-top and facing out to the sea, this place occupies an area external to the Pavilion, in which the crescent shape resembles a coastline, suggesting too how the tides of the sea can bring in and out different materials, ideas and conversations.
Soleil, Image, Memoire - Nathalie Mei (MA Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies)
responding to Soleil, Image, Memoire, Anon (1985)*.
In Soleil, Image, Memoire the artist retraces the nature of memorizing by deconstructing the narrative as well as the visual context. In the very beginning of the work, the artist questions the nature of the image: “He told me that film is an illusion anyways and that what you really see are still images and the thing that links them: the black.” Later on the narrator claims: “I remember the images I filmed. … they have substituted my memory: they are my memory.”
When we try to capture (driven by the desire to preserve is already lost), we distort and erase the subject of interest within the process of selection. We forget the in-between, which can be seen as the black. While memorizing we flatten the sensual context as well as its meaning and the original not only becomes untraceable but also it loses its importance. I am interested in the multiplicity within this process and aim to explore whether its outcome relates to traces of a collective identity. In the context of a post-digital condition, where a chronological definition of time no longer applies, I want to explore how multiplicity and an infinite act of becoming shape the nature of memory.
*The work is uncredited, we have made attempts to identify the artist which have to date been unsuccessful.
Time is all There Is - Marco Pantaleoni (MA Fine Art)
responding to Time is all There Is by Suse Bohse (1995).
The film Time is all There Is explores language, communication and the fragile development of relationships; the narrative works partly as a visual and aural diary. The subjects in the film appear to be distant; the time seems to be stretched, undefined and unfocused images relate to a feeling of uncertainty. The video is generally quite dark and introspective. Communication is mostly expressed through texts, which appear, flash and compose themselves in an abstract way, keeping the reading of this film open to the viewer. The general incertitude of the narrative is well reflected in the abstraction of the images. The communication and relationship between the subjects are filtered by the memory and the distance.
I have chosen this work because of the interesting relation between the narrative and its visual graphical features that I think particularly suit the technical method I intend to use. The entire video is in black and white, most of the scenes are quite graphical and well contrasted, with texts alternating to images.
My work reflects on the idea of uncertainty and responds to the indefinite visual features of the video. My aim is to deconstruct the composition of the video through a spatial and architectural reconstruction of it, that translate the 2D images into a more immersive 3D environment.
After Contempt - Emma Starkey (MA Fine Art)
responding to Video Contempt by Daniel Copley (1994).
After Contempt is a video work that investigates non-logical logic, contemporary absurdism influenced by the notion of post-truth, After Contempt seems like a nightmare scenario where conservative consciousness and any sort of logic’s made nonsensical maybe challenging its true state? The video work is inspired by Daniel Copley’s political pieces, like Copley’s piece the visuals in Starkey’s After Contemptare indebted to sound, both sound and visuals play and animate a simultaneous encounter. I was drawn to Copley’s Video Contempt as it was like witnessing a pulse within the skin, only I could see and hear it.
“I am so aware of my body” - Çağlar Tahiroğlu (MA Art and Science)
responding to Arrows by Sandra Lahire (1984).
Arrows by Sandra Lahire is a meditation on anorexia that shifts discussion into the field of the culture of female representation, as the Art Council’s (1995) review on Lahire implies. I took the question of gaze and the female body as a departure point; the woman’s body as a prisoner of the parodic repetition of normative femininity. I also responded to the bird figure used in Lahire’s moving image pieces, which serves as an analogy for the female condition.
The installation can be read as an associative synthesis of this research: What has changed since Sandra’s inquiry? I have conducted a series of interviews with four women of different backgrounds. We discussed their body image, their stories and eating disorders while they took taking control of their own image through a mirror. The result of this collaboration is an installation that incorporates sculpture, video and text. The set-up implies that despite the progress, we are still not far away from “Femme Maison”.
A Strange Enough Train - Shu Zhang (MA Fine Art)
responding to Arrows by Sandra Lahire (1984)
The film, A Strange Train, presents a series of stories which emphasise some ‘actual moments’ in my daily routine with an intention to provide a conscious perception of these actual moments to viewers. To respond to Daniel Copley’s STASIS (1995) and Video Contempt (1994), I used rotating lenses to capture the space, combined with some fleeting, metaphorical abstractions to translate past events into the present.
It is a feature film in which the timeline has been reworked by capturing considerable amounts of ‘slice-of-life’ episodes in various abandoned areas. My aim is to use digital language to record these impulses as though through a refracting mirror.