A journal article titled, Round Table: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art (2003) was are recorded discussion between a number of prominent artists working with the concept of the projected image including the likes of Malcolm Turvey, Hal Foster, Chrissie Iles, George Baker, Matthew Buckingham and Anthony McCall. They cover the history of the medium, into today and where it sits with the rest of the art world.
Claiming mechanical reproduction and the camera obscura as the jumping off point for the medium seems a fair statement and inevitably gives the format a long history alongside other forms of modern art including the parallels between abstract film and abstract art.
One important concept they discussed was the separation of art cinema and cinema. They referenced Barney’s Cremaster series, which I have seen previews of, and how it has a foot in both worlds, making it difficult to fully comprehend for both. I think its an interesting idea to work from. At what point do you crossover into ‘art cinema’ and does this place you above the likes of generic cinema?
Another point that was brought up was how the physical space of a gallery plays an important role in the work itself. A moving image is much different to a sculpture because even though your body is grounded, with a moving image, your mind is transported. They eye will automatically go to the dynamic rather than the static, it’s instinctual and not an element of observation that should be so easily overlooked. The classification that if a projected image reachers the floor it is considered an installation is also an interesting one. Such an absurd marking point that automatically changes the perception of the work.
McCall raised an important issue in the industry, that of funding for avant-garde films. There is no way to compete to the larger resources of ‘Hollywood’ films and the projected image is seen as a way to break apart from the commercial world. But both worlds work with the fictional realm of film. No matter what world, you are framing a perception in a certain way and I think its interesting, the disdain each world hold for the other, and yet at their very basic sense, they are just framing their story in a slightly different way.
I’ll end with a quote I thought was quite profound:
“I think it’s important to look at utopia not as something that is intended to succeed, but as fiction that is meant as a critique of the present moment”
We as the human race always seem to be working towards this idea of utopia, but utopia is constantly changing. Aren’t we living in the utopia of our ancestors? They could not imagine what technology and resources we have today. And yet today, as a society, we yearn for something more as well. By looking at what we want for the future we are simply looking at the failings of today.