On 19/05/21 we had our final group crit and I put forward Moving in and around To Bite B&W Repeat in the studio see below, as no one has seen it yet. It was really good to get a sense my installations are working and being received well. See initial notes further below.
My peers mentioned the plastic is working really well across the film in order to distort it and the space but not too much where the work becomes unreadable. But it also asks is the person trying to suggest they’re hiding the film with the cellophane without actually hiding it? Reflection 22/05/21: I like this idea of the cellophane also being a material to almost hide the dominance over the woman, by not hiding it at all, just like the cinema does – glorifying the male gaze/dominance over women by still showing it in a distorted way. The placement of the work in the corner works well, I moved to the corner as it felt too stretched across the space not the longer wall in the studio and I am glad this works better. Shauna mentioned the actual films gives the sense it could be an actual virtual exhibition which I liked because I used this sim we learnt form Congruous and it was received. As well as a good sense of the room, the film projected inside makes it question where is this space? What kind of space is it? Am I allowed to be in it looking in?
I was looking forward to getting Kieran and Srin feedback as recently I focused on the males perception on this work as it is very different to women’s POV. Imagery – there’s a good balance of the actual film To Bite B&W Repeat being both repulsive but not too bad to watch but this changes for everyone watching, something to remember. For those that have seen it a lot it wasn’t too disturbing this is because he has seen it a lot. Does the continual repetition encourage this?
Reflection 23/05/21: Would this change if a person was to sit in the space for a while watching? Would it become normalised like Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych of repetition, becoming less impactful? Is this the aim? I think the fact this film is coming normalised/less disturbing to people who have seen it a few times is my whole aim. The consumption of women and the control men have over women is being normalised and forgotten of its importance, like in pornography it becomes an expectation when you watch for the woman to be used as ‘the object’.
However, Srin watching for the first time found it “challenging to watch” and began to question who’s gaze is the focus, as it shifts throughout the film. I haven’t thought of it this way before but it’s interesting because it then challenging all gazes’ like Barbara Kruger’s prints. The female gaze is represented at the start, being held in the males mouth the helplessness/vulnerability, whereas the gaze shifts to the male gaze by the breast being eaten/consumed exploring the control/dominance and violence over the women. The word violent was used again by Srin, but not by any women yesterday. It confirms that both men and women view this work differently but it makes the work compelling to watch. Srin mentioned it made him want to watch more and see both sides of the gaze so they see both the women and mens POV, which still ultimately revolves round the female being consumed/dominated. It also has this “editorial visual to it – the breast rested in the mouth like a magazine page” “it has a presciences to it, a concentrated potency”.
Reflection 26/05/21: After my 1-1 with Jane today, we discussed how I have directed the male model the do the eating, I have the control – does this further it more as female empowerment? Or encourage sexual objectification?
Srin asked is the cellophane needed? – I think it is and Srin said it adds a further distortion which leads to uncertainty/disorientation at some points from this Srin mentioned Pipilotti Rist’s fabric installations like Administrating Eternity as she uses slight sound where you have to walk around between fabrics and materials to see distorted and unrecognisable images. Also Jane said within Moving in and around To Bite B&W Repeat in the studio the use of filming/cellophane allows a break for the viewers when they see a wall about half way through, to have a breather of the intensity of the image. With this it adds to questions is there boundaries with this work? And am I crossing them? It becomes a controversial exploration which resorts back to Srin comment of introducing both gazes.
‘Affect and the abject’ coming together within this work. I have previously mentioned the abject present within my work and Julia Kristeva states “It is thus not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, order” (Kristeva, 1980, p 4) and “There is fear and fascination. The body (of the ego) and the (sexual) object are completely absorbed in it. Abjection—at the crossroads of phobia, obsession, and perversion—shares in the same arrangement.” (Kristeva, 1980, p 45). Srin comment of my work being affect and abject made me think about the both fear and fascination my work carries as well. Viewers are disturbed, find it ‘challenging to watch’ but then also are intrigued to continue to watch. I have learnt it is the impactful that becomes most affective in regards to the way its perceived and received and I think sound may take this further. The same goes for the way Foster explores abjection in Shermans work, “deidealization is pushed to the point of desublimation: with scarred sacks for breasts and funky carbuncles for noses, these bodies break down the upright lines of proper representation, indeed of proper subjecthood” (Foster, 1996, p 111), its this unexpected placement of the breast in a chewing mouth, it becomes uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It makes me question if the ‘affect and abject’ is more impactful from a males POV than from a females POV, does it becomes more emotionally effective?
Sound has been a thing I have struggled to work with in the past. I used it previously and was told it was too distracting so I have been working with muted video which works well when projecting, but recently it has been questioned by my peers and myself if I could add sound over the installation film documentations to further this intensity. See film below, I layered the original sound of the chewing from To Bite B&W Repeat back into the film documentation of Moving in and around To Bite B&W Repeat in the studio. This made me envision having a louder sound/speaker while you walk in and around the space when installed. It adds this weird sweetie like image again to the work, which has been lost recently due to the focus in on the grotesque.
Reflection 20/05/21: I sent this film to my peers above get some feedback. Many of them said it makes it more unusual and makes the space feel more compact – could be even more so challenging to be in. I may consider this in relation to the actual installations – another layer on impact.
Artists in relation to the grotesque:
- Dali and Brunel – Un Chien Andalou
- Mona Hatoum – Edicoscope