The Studio of Eric Valosin

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Re-envisioning the Video Still

So the summer has come, and I'm embarking on a quest to learn everything.  Well, everything that seems relevant to the world of my artistic practice.  Which is pretty close to everything.  After a week long intensive crash course on how Heideggerian philosophy meets artmaking, we've been tasked with a summer of research on all of the things our practice "gathers."  We're investigating the fields of study, major thinkers, artists, places, and practices that inhabit our conceptual landscape.  Ultimately this is to earn a deeper awareness and understanding of our art's world, bringing this newfound scholarship back into the studio to evolve our practice accordingly.

As part of this, I've been revisiting my major projects from last semester and re-invisioning how they might be different If I were to do them over (or other variations of them).  I've been thinking a lot about how drawing might meet up with my shadow projection video, and particularly how a video still from that should operate.

A traditional still seems inadequate, and the simple prints I collaged in my show in May just didn't seem to operate within the same realm as the video, sloughing off all of the most important parts and essentially becoming wallpaper.

So what are the vital elements of the video that should be preserved in a "print" or "still?" I came up with the following:
-the luminosity, which lends it its divinity and sheer presence
-the layering
-the way one element exists as a reaction to another
-the imagery itself, of course

I've begun by constructing a sort of layered light box that would allow the still print to function within the same world as the video itself...

frame and "guts" of the light box
 By building a backlit frame that can house several layers of glass, I can recreate the luminosity of the video.  I used fluted window molding cut at 45 degree angles for the frame, glued and bracketed together, which would allow me to drop a masonite board into the slot and feed some LED rope light into the frame.  By lining the masonite with tinfoil, I can maximize the reflected ambient light.

top/back view of layers in slotted fluting
Then I can layer in the shadow and the painting from stills in the video on sheets of acrylic to reconstruct the compiled image created in the video.   Leaving the protective film and a bit of distance between the first two panes helps to diffuse the light so the ropes themselves don't shine through and create hot spots.

Finally, I can incorporate the reactionary element by taking the still one step further.  Here's where drawing comes in.  Originally in the video, the painting is a reaction to the shadow.  But in a still, both the shadow and the paint already exist.  So the natural progression of this logic would be for the still to be a sort of drawing that reacts to the shadow and paint (perhaps taking it back towards the original platonic imagery I used to project the shadows in the first place?).  This will take place on a piece of acrylic resting in front of the layers of prints, allowing the still to both preserve the imagery from the video and still grow as its own exploratory piece of art.

More to come as I finish this project (and others) and embark on becoming an expert on things like Christian Mysticism, New Media, and Post Human Theology!

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