I make films that manipulate natural vision – they distort what the eye would see in some way. Evidently this desire to alter the view is common to expanded cinema and connects it to non-figurative painting. Focus, perspectives, colours, footage speed, sound are all ripe for exploitation. (1)
Ernie Gehr’s film ‘The Glider’, 2001 shows views distorted into a curve by a rounded camera lens and perspectival rules are abandoned. At first, what’s seen appears abstract but it resolves gradually into lines of a building, figures of people, a seascape curving across the picture plan or rushing down the screen. What’s offered is a distorted representation of the real world. (2)
Seeing is natural but experiences are constructed. If a film succeeds in evoking sensations in the viewer, what it offers must de facto be outside the scope of normal perception. But why go there? It reveals a world hovering beneath the usual one. Perception is changed – opened up to new possibilities. A sense of the uncanny is made manifest. The Freudian uncanny is an ungraspable, aesthetic experience that creates a rift. One could say about it: ‘I recognise what I see but the film reveals things I do not recall, perhaps because they were too fast for my eye to perceive’. (1, 3)
The inhuman gaze of the camera captures what the human eye cannot.
The disjuncture between what’s seen and what’s recalled drives the uncanny out into the open. It evokes an experience in the one seeing it; something tertiary – unlived. The uncanny provokes one to feel something you do not perceive. Divisions between mind and body are removed; exteriority and interiority are brought into balance. (1, 3)
So, the films I make all manipulate natural vision to some extent, but I can see there is a great deal of potential to push this further by varying the techniques I use and the degree of manipulation employed. I think it’s time to let my imagination run riot!
1 DN Rodowick, ‘Indefinite Visions’ Conference, Whitechapel Gallery, 24th to 25th June 2016
2 http://www.waysofseeing.org/struct.html, 24/06/16
3 Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli, ‘Indefinite Visions’ Conference, Whitechapel Gallery, 24th to 25th June 2016