Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LIKENESS Video Series: Jim Campbell

Today's installment in the LIKENESS Video Series (produced with love by MF Danny) comes from artist Jim Campbell. Jim has two pieces showing in the LIKENESS exhibition, one of which you see below (Liz Walking: A Distillation Portrait) and the other will be posted here on the MF blog later in the week. Both make use of custom electronics and LED lighting. In Liz Walking, Jim has transformed an entire gallery into a lo-fi projection screen. To shine a bit more light on Jim's creative process, I've included some text from curator Elaine A. King's gallery guide below the embedded video.

Liz Walking: A Distillation Portrait, 2009 (4th Floor)
custom electronics, LEDs
LIKENESS Exhibition - Through March 21, 2010

Liz Walking: A Distillation Portrait develops out of Jim Campbell's earlier Motion and Rest series that depicts six studies of people with disabilities walking. The idea underlying this series was that the low-resolution process inherently eliminates everything about the walking figures except for their gait. According to Campbell, "the works (or medium) distill the movement of the figures eliminating all of the other information from the moving images (age, clothes, gender, hair style etc. cannot be determined from the representations)."

This work goes further, when at times it eliminates the entire image including the movement such that only the rhythm of the movement is left leaving an even simpler representation. The installation is set up so that at the front of the room is a low-resolution image of the figure, but concurrently the two side walls (on either side of the viewer as they are looking at the front wall) have the same moving image presented in a great deal, lower resolution to the point of being almost totally abstract. However since the sidewalls are taken in with peripheral vision (which is also inherently movement based and more unconscious based) the rhythm of the figure is felt from the viewer’s peripheral vision as it is seen on the front wall with the observer’s direct vision. A unique situation is presented since the viewer’s peripheral vision is actually observing the same thing that the straight-ahead vision is seeing. Lastly, as a type of facilitation process for the viewer to leave their analytical seeing process behind, this installation goes through a cycle where the higher resolution image on the front wall gradually fades to nothing (a flat field) leaving only the peripheral image rhythm to be felt for a few moments before the front image gradually fades up again—what remains is a movement portrait or signature. (Excerpt from Elaine A. King's gallery guide for LIKENESS)

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