Monday, 28 February 2011

Work continues... Capturing passing time

-Cheryl Garner, Edited found footage, 2011 [Short clips, original edits played on loops]

Having problems uploading the second sequence... The idea being to have two of the same sequences but edited at different speeds playing alongside each other on loops -- sound from original footage.

-The contrast between “then” and “now” with home movies of the past has been changed by passing time.

-Looking back to the past through an altered perspective, informed by the possibilities of the present.

-Everyday reality – unexpected ways of seeing old home movies – the unexpected encounters that emerge.

-Stillness may evoke a "before" for the moving image, movement and stillness touches on this point of uncertainty so that, buried in the home movie’s materiality, lies a reminder of the difficulty of understanding passing time.

-The residual trace of stillness, or the hint of stillness within movement, survives, sometimes enhancing, sometimes threatening.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Postmodern Condition - metanarratives explained ?

In the book "The Postmodern Condition," Lyotard professes a preference for small narratives that compete with each other (a narrative is a story. Therefore, a metanarrative is a story about a story, encompassing and explaining other 'little stories' within totalizing schemes)

Lyotard suggests that there is an objective truth, but because of the limited amount of knowledge that is understood the truth will never be known. Lyotard advocates that there is no certainty of ideas, but rather there are better or worse ways to interpret things.

The Postmodern Condition was written as a report on the influence of technology on the notion of knowledge in exact sciences, commissioned by the Québec government. Lyotard later admitted that he had a 'less than limited' knowledge of the science he was to write about, and to compensate for this knowledge, he 'made stories up' and referred to a number of books that he hadn't actually read. In retrospect, he called it 'a parody' and 'simply the worst of all my books'.

"Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives. This incredulity is undoubtedly a product of progress in the sciences: but that progress in turn presupposes it. To the obsolescence of the metanarrative apparatus of legitimation corresponds, most notably, the crisis of metaphysical philosophy and of the university institution which in the past relied on it. The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language elements--narrative, but also denotative, prescriptive, descriptive, and so on... Where, after the metanarratives, can legitimacy reside?"
-Jean Francois Lyotard

Clip of a film I re-worked.

Cheryl Garner, Short Clip - Wedding, 2011 [Found Footage re-worked]

- In postmodern philosophy, a metanarrative is an untold story that unifies and totalizes the world, and justifies a culture's power structures.

- An abstract idea that is thought to be a comprehensive explanation of historical experience or knowledge.

- A metanarrative is a story about a story, encompassing and explaining other "little stories" within totalizing schemes.

- Metanarrative - a narrative about a narrative or narratives, any story told to justify another story, esp. involving artifice; a story about oneself that provides a view of one's experiences.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Construction / Abstraction

"No one, [Freud] announced, lives in the real world. We occupy a space of our own creation - a collage compounded of bits and pieces of actuality arranged into a design determined by our internal perceptions, our hopes, our fears, our memories, and our anticipations."

-W Galin, Feelings, 1979
On discussing "common things," Georges Perec contended the difficulty is "to free these images from the straitjacket in which they are trapped, to make them produce meaning and speak about what they are and what we are." Home movies are precisely "common things

Thursday, 17 February 2011

"It would be so simple to look at this film and say, "There, look. They're enjoying themselves...They don't look like they are suffering at all." Truth is, there are no scripted scenes of misery, no one caught sobbing in uncontrolled grief. These are home movies...taken under normal circumstances, there is an underlying poignancy that transcends the innocent, naive faces on the screen...The true power of home movies is the fact that they don't apologize showing scenes of children playing, people laughing. There is no apology needed."

-Joy Yamauchi
In their recordings of private lives and private perspectives on the public, home movies are invaluable documents of everyday lived experiences. Home movies reveal much about time and the society in which they were made. The family's desire to inscribe themselves into the conventions of the technology, and all that this was associated with, means that the films are not always what they seem; their familiarity can be deceptive.

Home movies footage evokes nuclear family life, particularly in the suburbs. It suggests the commonplace, the ordinary. Yet reworking these films into my own projects, I have to manipulate their context and their surface to reveal these meanings other than as nostalgic or quaint.

When you think about it, they allow the forever-outsider, the spectator, to be seen and to recognise themselves.

Artists often flee ordinariness, the danger of exposing it

We watch them, their own ordinariness, marriage, babies, frolicking in the snow. The ordinary can be an embarrassment for those who notice it because to do so is an acknowledgment, maybe even a confession, of one's own banality.

That ordinary being the place where "you first encounter yourself"

further questions -

They are old movies, home movies, which were taken for no good reason: just to mark occasions, to create a record; to remember daily life and the bodies we used to have and the people we used to be ????

The running joke of home movies is that you want to flee from the one that inflicts their home movies of wedding, the children, the last vacation on you. And yet they are oblivious of the boredom, they have no reason to be bored, after all it's about them.

How can home movies of other people hold any interest for us?
Why should we care about them?


The basic purpose of home movies is to share fun and enjoyable activity, exhibited in the living room, in circles of family and friends, they imply conversations and preservation of memory, but what happens when these films are exhibited beyond the confines of the family home?

As soon as the home movie is taken out of its native environment, it has the capacity to become either senseless or unheimlich. I need to bring the private film - orphaned film - into a world of sense. To make another person's home movie into mine.

The Gaze

There is something about the home movie "actor" gazing out of their movies, they look out of the moment into the present time.

The number of missing images is endless.

Home movies seek to represent a happy and balanced life. Of all the many things that happen in human life, most are not "suitable" not "fit" for filming. The missing images, what is considered taboo, while marriages are many a home movie will never feature divorce - or abuse - or aggression. Happy moments abound.

Home movies are the medium of joy, and you feel that with the subjects. The movie camera comes out for the vacation, for the new if the ephemerality of those moments commanded them to record. Or is it that the sight of the camera triggers a certain glee - a universal smile and say cheese!
The makers of home movies is similar to that of a diarist: they both seek to record things as they happen. However, while the written diary is a conscious reflection on what has already transpired, filmmaking is an immediate recording launched at the push of a button.

Filmmakers shoot things that are "worth filming" that is subjects that are important, interesting and funny. However what is it that defines something as important, beautiful, interesting or funny?

One moment is captured by randomness. And then another and yet another is captured subsequently fixing those moments as the only way it could have been. Could it have happened differently? Home movies feature a veritable of fact-images.

Interesting thought

Film's intrinsically naive quality of capturing whatever, before it is characterised by the home movie. One of the sources of understanding for family films lies within the context of screening - specifically the role of narration or commentaries offered by the family while viewing the films: "this is me, that is him," "this happened then, and that happened then," "Now we see this and this," "how happy we were at that time." Spontaneous comments that, in effect, constitutes the metanarration.

[Mining The Home Movie, Karen L. Ishizuka, book]

An Example of commentaries offered by the family while viewing the film -

"Essentially, making these films and the research they require constitutes my terrain: I try to see the unseen, to de- and reconstruct the human past through ephemeral private movies."

-Peter Forgacs

The Danube Exodus - The Rippling Currents of the River - Installation by Peter Forgacs at ZKM from Peter Forgacs on Vimeo.

The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River is an immersive installation about the displacement of ethnic minorities and the possible connections between them. Based on The Danube Exodus , an award-winning film by Hungarian filmmaker and Getty scholar, Péter Forgács, the installation premiered at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center in 2002.

Kádár's Kiss - Private Hungary 12 - Film by Peter Forgacs from Peter Forgacs on Vimeo.

Peter Forgacs, Hungarian Home movie, 2008

Juxtaposing the public and the private Hungarian histories.

"After 1956 the Hungarian Communist dictatorship under Party Secretary János Kádár was a "softer" version of the Soviet rule. But its double speak, repression and shameless ideological or political perversion contradicts the everyday life behind the doors of private homes."

-Peter Forgacs

The Maelstrom - A Family Chronicle - Film by Peter Forgacs from Peter Forgacs on Vimeo.

Peter Forgacs, The Maelstrom, circa 2008

The Maelstrom makes extraordinary artful use of considerable cache of home movies shot in the Netherlands before and during World War II and dealing with the extended Peereboom family.

"What we see is a Jewish family first living unknowingly in the shadow of the Holocaust and then trying to cope with it still unaware of what it will finally mean."

- Peter Forgacs
"The "real" and the "performed" act is twofold in the home movie. Our many different roles exemplify the separation and interrelation of our public and private lives. The act of mimesis seems to signify "I exist" or rather "I represent myself..." This imitation of ourselves is an authentic "copy" of the original, since...the role is indentical. For example: a woman smelling a flower can appear spontaneous or be a reenactment. Which one was caught on film?"

- The Picture of a model reality. Wittgenstein, on culture and value.
"Private films are "affirmative statements," spontaneous film recording of the amateur reflecting on his own world: the way he saw a particular thing at a particular time and in a particular way. What we later evaluate as a film-statement is only a reflection in the moment of filming. And as an intervention it has an influence on the event. The presence of the camera can be sensed, which affects the home movie behavior. Pushing the button of the camera is an immediate reflection on the present situation. The world "happens" and we record a bit of it."

- Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Found Film Footage re-edited

Film clip re edit of found footage from Cheryl Garner on Vimeo.

Found Film Footage re-edited from Cheryl Garner on Vimeo.

Cheryl Garner, Found footage re-edit, 2011. [any sound is from the original found footage]

A short film clip of a re-edit of found footage, I did this using photoshop, drawing still after still after still after still... You get the idea.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

John Stezaker, Film Portrait, 2005 [Photo-collage]

"Much of my work is not really to involve with collage so much as an economy of cutting and removing"

"...when you collect you are trying to master something that resists mastery. You are trying to create a blockage against the inexorable flowing away of things and images, to retain something consigned to disappearance. In this culture it is a way of making visible against the ground of the images in the process of disappearance. But mastery is also an illusion, though perhaps a necessary one. In fact, rather than giving possession, the collection represents entrapment. It is master, and you are its servant. Jean Baudrillard says that the final term of collection is the collector"

- John Stezaker

Christian Holstad, 2003, colour xerox on archival paper

Thomas Hirschhorn, No Life is Cheap, 2001
Work on paper; paper, plastic, foil, adhesive tape, prints, marker and ballpoint.

"A collage is an interpretation. It's true, real, entire interpretation that wants to create something new. Doing collages means creating a new world with elements of this existing world. Doing collages is unprofessional and it's easy. Everyone has once in his life made a collage and everybody is included in a collage... I want to put together what cannot be put to
gether, I think that's the aim of a collage and it's my mission as an artist."
- Thomas Hirschhorn

Jonathan Hernandes, rongwrong III, 2005, collage

"The images (photographs) proceed exclusively from the press (national and international). I have read the newspapers almost every day while having breakfast"
- Jonathan Hernandes

Team Animation - Chris Sayer - Stuart Fortune - Phil Brough - Pete Mellor, The Big Idea, 2004-2005

Getty Images, the worlds largest provider of stock footage, invited 7 international agencies and filmmakers/designers to create innovative video clips from film materials and stills in Getty's archives, under the motto "The Big Idea". "The Hole Hog" by intro presents a surreal and foreign world in which aliens are right amongst us... .

Joost Korngold, Archetype, Experimental Work, 2004

Archetype: an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Double Vision: Stan Douglas and Douglas Gordon

To enter the flickering darkness of Douglas Gordon's re-edit film, you must first pass a public warning tacked to the wall. It cautions the viewer about a condition known as photosensitive epilepsy, a stimulus-induced type of seizure most commonly triggered in children and adolescents. For those susceptible to the condition it describes - particularly those suffer from tonic-clonic, absence, complex partial, and mixed epilepsy - the filmic experience promised by the installation carries potentially dire medical consequences. Even for those without such a history, the suggestive power of the warning casts a shadow across the subsequent experience, transforming the darkened temple of traditional cinema into a twilight laboratory of human consciousness. Under the smiling benignity of a sign that seems to say "we care", Gordon preconstitutes our response to the work with the language of a psychological and medical condition. Written as a warning, the sign now functions as a predisposition - the writing clearly on the wall, the experiment on us. [excerpt from Double Vision, book]

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Make and Project Your Own Home Movies - Published in 1917 in Illustrated world [magazine]

"Think of the pleasure, in after years, when your son or daughter is grown up and leaves home, of having a complete film record from cradle days up. Think what a generous filming of scenes of your honeymoon would mean to you now. The greatest single pleasure that is possible to store up for the days of old age is wealth of reminiscences of happy hours spent in youth with comrades or people you care in a sincere and lasting way. The old people of today have only their dimming memories to depend on; those of tomorrow will have libraries of this film. This camera ought to add greatly to the joy of every family."

A blissful domain of Family life

An American nuclear family composed of the mother, father, and children circa 1955 [ family]

During their leisure time, these parents direct the most important consuming narrative of all - the grand happy epic of nuclear family life. The Nuclear Family's most important recreation was itself. Togetherness - family harmony - children - travel into a performance of familialism. The notion of togetherness epitomized this ideology of the family.

She: And just who is it in this family that handles the camera like a garden hose?
He: Don't interrupt, please.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Exhibitionism and Solitude

Jennifer Ringley, JenniCAM, 1996-2003

In 1996 on the eve of her 21st birthday, Jennifer Ringley attached a video camera to her computer and began to upload images of her college dormitory room to the internet.

"Anything I may be doing in my dorm room - reading, writing, email...,watching TV, playing with my hedgehog Spree, rearranging my room, doing aerobics, just about anything."
-Jennifer Ringley.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1997, interview:

PI: DO you censor the JenniCAM?

JR: Nope - I never know when the camera is going to take the picture so I have no time to prepare, and I never feel a need to hide anything going on anyway.

PI: Do you ever stage what we see?

JR: I occasionally do "shows" which are more or less staged,... it's nice to be able to acknowledge the camera now and again. But except for these quite obvious shows, everything else is just moi au naturel.

PI: Why are you giving up your privacy like this?

JR: ...I don't feel I'm giving up my privacy. Just because people can see me doesn't mean it affects me. I'm still alone in my room, no matter what.

PI: You're naked sometimes, is this pornography?

JR: That's for the viewer to decide.

To think of Jennifer Ringley as an exhibitionist is to think of her camera as if it were a window. From the viewers position it is a window but from Ringley's position it is a mirror.

Hitchcock, Psycho, 1960 The stillness of death

Hitchcock's Psycho is a good example of the use of the transition of Life to Death into the surrounding mise en scene. For a moment, the stillness of the recent animate body is juxtaposed with the stream of water still pouring from the shower, inanimate material in unrelenting movement.

Douglas Gordon, 24-Hour Psycho, 1993

Gordon expands Hitchcock's original Psycho (1960) by slowing it down from its original 90 minutes to 24 hours.

"By slowing the film down to a 13th of its normal speed, Gordon shows us not a "motion picture" but a succession of stills, each projected for about half a second. We become aware of the intermittency of the film image and the fragility of the illusion of real time in motion pictures."
-Amy Taubin

The Death Drive: Narrative Movement Stilled by Laura Mulvey (Death 24x a Second, book)

Human consciousness creates ordered time to organize the rhythms of everyday life according to the demands of society and economy, but also in recognition of the intractable nature of time itself. For humans and all organic life, time marks movement along a path to death, that is, to the stillness that represents the transformation of the animate into the inanimate.
In cinema, the blending of movement and stillness touches on this point of uncertainty so that, buried in the cinema's materiality, lies a reminder of the difficulty of understanding passing time.

Stillness and movement have different relations to time. The illusion of movement is necessarily extended within time, in duration. A still frame when repeated creates an illusion of stillness,, a freeze frame, a halt in time. Stillness may evoke a "before" for the moving image as film strip, as a reference back to photography or to its own original moment of registration. Although the projector reconciles the opposition and the still frames come to life, this underlying stillness provides cinema with a secret, with a hidden past that might or might not find its way to the surface. The inanimate frames come to life, the unglamorous mechanics are covered over and the entrancing illusion fills the screen. But like the beautiful automaton, a residual trace of stillness, or the hint of stillness within movement, survives, sometimes enhancing, sometimes threatening.
"If the stop on the image, or of the image, what one might also call the photographic "take" on the film, the pose or pause of the image asserted the power of stillness to enthral, if this impression is so strong, it must be because it touches the stop of death..."

-Raymond Bellour

Bruce Nauman, Raw Material with Continous Shift - MMMM, 1991
2-channel video installation
1x projector, 2x monitor, colour, sound 15sec loop

The work is overtly uncomfortable and covertly aggressive, instilling in the viewer a sense of general unease. Even as he breaks down language to its most basic raw elements the artist remains able to convey implied distress or trauma through those same elements.

John Massey, As the Hammer Strikes [A Partial Illustration], 1982
3-channel installation
3 DVDs [transferred from 16 mm film]
1x colour and 2x black-and-white
sound, 30ins

Massey recreates a recorded conversation with a hitchhiker to whom Massey offered a ride too. The installation's central projection, filmed in faded colour from a stationary position in the back of a van. The two flanking projections, in contrast, show six to ten images a minute that illustrate possible associations of the two participants with what is being said.

VALIE EXPORT, Adjungierte Dislokationen, 1973
3x16mm film
no sound

examines issues of spatial perception and experience, using technical apparatus as sensory extensions of the body. EXPORT straps an 8 mm camera to her stomach and back, functioning as a mobile tripod. She moves from indoors into urban space and then out into the countryside, striking different poses while the two camera record views in opposite directions. The result of three different recording perspectives are projected simultaneously side-by-side, juxtaposing and complementing a seemingly neutral mode of representation with the perspective contingent upon the body.

Andy Warhol, Outer and Inner Space, 1965
2x16 mm film
black-and-white, sound, 33min

Warhol's work combines video and 16 mm film, consisting of two 16 mm film reels projected side-by-side, each depicting Edie Sedgwick. The right TV monitor playing her own pre-recorded video interview - one of the earliest uses of video in the visual arts. Four simultaneous portraits are seen, producing the occasional illusion of Edie conversing with her own image. The title refers to the multilayered quality of the audiovisual installation.

Gary Hill, Viewer, 1996

Follows the idea of motionlessness of these seemingly "live" figures, contradicts the classical cinematic experience. Filmic progression has been replaced by the desire to see and be seen.

Diana Thater, Seven Screens,

Spatial Movements which deliberately renounced narrative structures in any conventional sense.

"I want to investigate how technology conditions our vision."


Doug Aitken, Eraser, 1999

Doug Aitken, Eraser, 1999

This piece of work refers to the feedback relationship between film and spectator.

"In many ways the process of my work is an ongoing experiment to see how I can open myself to a larger field of experience and information. In my installations I don't see the narrative ending with the image on the screen. Every inch of the work or architecture is a component of the narrative."

This expansion of film in space takes up a fundamental cinematic principle: the human need to be transported to another place, to assume a different identity, and to use a perfect illusion to bring about this transition.


Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Consolation Service

The camera wanders through the space as though functioning as the narrator. In this way, the viewer is interpolated between scenes and protagonists, and is invited to make sense of the scenario.

"My objective was to investigate various ways of narrating a story."


"The spectator is partly watching a photograph and partly watching something in the present"


Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers, Documentation of the exhibition

A good example of heightened modes of perception while compelling the viewer to question their own standpoint.

Caught between Images: The Heightened Perception of the Filmc by Joachim Jager

...By avoiding the spatial delimitations or continuous narratives so that characteristics of cinema artists Doug Aitken, David Claerbout, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Gary Hill, Pipilotti and Diana Thater emphasize the fleeting quality of the medium. Here, film functions less as a window onto a grand illusion and instead as a medium of reflection on the potentialities of film. Projections onto several screens or within specially designed architectural backdrops expand the film in space, creating new points of view and perspectives. These demand a heightened mode of perception while compelling viewers to question their own standpoint.

...Multiple screens make it possible to show images of the action and of the reactions to it simultaneously. The viewer, then, must make a choice.

Tony Oursler's "Criminal Eye" at Hamburger Bahnhoff, Berlin 07 from MAjournal07AP on Vimeo.

Tony Oursler, Criminal Eye, 1995
1-channel video installation, colour, sound, sphere [diameter 45.5cm]

Oursler's work projects faces or isolated eyes onto anthropomorphically shaped objects, thus seeming to bring these objects to life. Exploring ideas of surveillance and superimposition, sources of angst in a media-dominated world.

The Criminal eye severed from body and mind, has lost the function of perception as a source of cognitive awareness and become a mere instrument of vision; it sees but does not comprehend.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dark Mirror

Aernout Mik, Mock up, 2007

4 screen video installation

Instead of offering a 'black box' space, in which viewers can take up a position in front of the screen, Mik's installation is brightly lit and organised in such a way that it is difficult to view the screen without obscuring the sightlines of other visitors.

Thomas Demand, Trick, 2004

Trick (2004) is a one-minute-long computer animation presented as a looped 35mm film projection. It can be described as a "remake", or perhaps a "reanimation", as it is based upon a segment from an early lumiere film, which used stop-motion animation to create illusion of plates spinning magically on a table.

Stan Douglas, Details from Inconsolable Memories, 2005

Stan Douglas, Inconsolable Memories, 2005
Installation view at Joslyn Art Mueseum, Omaha, NE
16 mm black and white film, sound, loops; 2 synchronized film projections; 15 permutations at 5 minutes 39 seconds

Inconsolable Memories, a film reconstructed by memory, uses narrative loops to articulate the experience of time. It is difficult to piece together the sequence of events as they unfold in the present.

Just a thought

Ludwig Wittgenstein suggested the idea of "family resemblances" in his philosophical investigations to describe the existence of concepts that depend on the presence of their incomplete and overlapping similarities to be comprehended. For instance, we understand "brother" as similar to "sister" in their filial relation to "parents" yet as different in their sexual relations to "mother" and "father". Although more concerned with the use of everyday language games, Wittgenstein's idea may be applied to use of everyday media, such as Home Video and Domestic Television - we trace roots to kinship, ties relations among its members.

Television shares a recognised likeness, particularly at home, where TV portrays everyday life in amateur production - video and television mediate, and themselves are mediated by notions of family - using media to represent family relations to ourselves - we also use family relations to represent these medias to each other.

(From reading, There's no place like Home Video)
Roger Odin suggests:

"...home movies produces a spectator who is more a "participant" than a real spectator: he takes part in the direction of the film (having held the camera), in the action taking place on screen (having been filmed), in the installation of the projection equipment (having set up the screen and projector), and finally, in this type of event that consists of the collective creation of a memorial diegesis (the narrator tells the story) by the members of the family."
"when the video camcorder came along, it seduced the nation with its accessibility: no need to change the film cartridges every three minutes, no hassling with a temperamental projector, no screens. But folks who switched to video weren't stepping up, they were stepping over, trading away the look and theatricality of film because they shared the same sin that leads to fast-food joints: the I-want-it-now syndrome. They traded taste for prompt delivery."

- Randall Tierney, American Film, 1990

(An interesting thought which should be noted)

"What is real for an individual as a member of a culture is a product both of his social reality and of the way in which that shapes his experience of the physical world. Since much of our social reality is understood in metaphorical terms, and since our concept of the physical world is partly metaphorical, metaphor plays a very significant role in determining what is real to us"

-George Larkoff, 2002, p.22: There's no place like Home Video, book.


The following directives published in a 1960 Better Homes and Gardens article, "Shooting Script for Christmas Time Home Movies"

- Shine the lights in the direction of the subject for several seconds before actually beginning to shoot the scene.

- Don't encourage your subjects to look at the camera. They will look much more natural if they simply continue to do what they were doing before you start shooting.

- Grown-ups will be much less self-conscious if they are engaged in some activity with a child while you are shooting.
"the vacationist who does nothing but loaf and sleep and dance and play bridge has only a week or two of vacation, but the one who records all of these phases of the two weeks with his cine-camera takes home a generous slice of vacation to spread over the dull crust of routine throughout the year"

-Herbert McKay, 1932, The Cine Amateur