Sunday, January 29, 2012

On using video...

last year we began using video in our art.  it all stemmed from getting an iPhone.  mindy got one first and had way too much fun playing around, then we invested in a flipcam (which was a piece of shit).  then i got an iphone.  then everything changed.  we started making short 'process' videos of some of my ceramics techniques, as little educational films, which forced us to become more involved in the editing process.  then we started playing with soundtrack.  then, after seeing the oscar nominated shorts last winter in NYC, we became interested in how film tells stories.

last winter was our first real experience with video.  we were snowed in under about 14" and drifts up to the windows and in rural indiana, you stay like that until the sun melts some of that shit away.  so to break cabin fever we got out the county fair toys and made little video clips of them.  we created little stark sets on the shelves, stairs, and pedestals in the house.  then used the iphone and the snap-shot camera to film everything.  we edited everything in iMovie and used garageband to create the soundtracks.  looped it all together and ended up w/ a 15 minute collection of short clips.

i make interactive works and filming them being interacted with and moving around and being more than static helps remove some of the preciousness of the work.  i watched alexander calder's 'circus' films when i was in grad school, then we saw them again in NYC at a retrospective show at the whitney a few years ago.  and it was eye-opening to see calder, some drunk old fella playing with the toys he'd created.  in the same way i felt that county fair should also have that element of 'play.'

Alexander Calder's Circus (Part 1). View Part 2 here.

this project led into making cartoons, and then led into shooting other video for other installations.  i used video as a main portion of my installation from last fall, post-industrial, to give a sense of space and distance in the piece.  we basically drove through the indiana countryside filming the horizon line, covering the different kinds of human habitats here, from the rural to the suburban to the city.

Post-Industrial, 2011.

people respond to moving images more than they respond to static images, the challenge is in keeping their attention.  most people who walk into an art gallery are not going to spend 5, 10, or 15+ minutes standing in a dark room trying to figure out what the artist is trying to say.  i find that video can be more effective by embedding it into a 'static' work.  so there's more to it than just the 'film.'  in most galleries and museums that show video, the 'video' is the work.  i use video in the same way i use everything else.  as an element that contributes to the whole.

detail from County Fair

county fair now features a talking 'carnie' at the food cart and a collection of animated and live-action shorts that help to grab the audience and pull them into the work.  give them something to interest them, but don't make it demand their attention.  i, instead, ask for their attention by making the video a simple element of the overall piece.  and with that, i can, more adequetly involve an audience with my ideas about art and life.

p.s. some more video shorts from county fair can be seen in this previous post.

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