Testing Grounds.

Preliminary presentations incl. notable influence – Testing Grounds, Week 9, 4/5/16

Still from Derek Jarman – Blue (1993) (35mm film, 75 min)

I chose to make note of Derek Jarman’s Blue as a work that had effected my thinking about my final project.

Jarman, an English film maker, had been diagnosed with HIV. He chose for his fourth and final feature film to portray his life and his failing vision (as a result of AIDS-related complications) through the narration of notable friends whilst visually presenting the audience with only a saturated blue field. Much of the work, released four months prior to Jarman’s death, takes places in treatment rooms and hospitals.

I first encountered the work at the Tate Modern in April 2014, incidentally four months before the death portrayed in my final piece.

There are notable similarities between Blue and my work. Firstly, in neither is a body present.

Secondly, in essence nothing develops visually in either piece. Whilst my work is a real-time piece of video, the act it portrays has already happened. There is nothing that could possibly be witnessed by the viewer other than a real-time change in light or the fading of the colour of things in the shot (were the shot long enough).

Thirdly, in both works there is a focus on minutiae –Blue focuses small actions and thoughts, sounds and actions, things we take for granted; my work presents all the components of a lived-in bedroom left exactly as they were at the time of death, books and the contents of one’s pockets.

Things I take from the work for future investigation:

  • Temporal stasis of an image forces the viewer to search for a depth of field that may or may not exist. When you realise that depth of field doesn’t exist it forces one’s thought inward.
  • Attention tests – what level of attention am I aiming for from the audience. Test audiences for their psychological experience over time of being immersed in the work.
  • Video with no start or end point. Not just looped but no evident 0:00.000 Look at the work of Jesper Just and Chantal Akerman.
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