Weeks 1 Thru 4 Contextual-Research


Film by Luis Bunuel. Courtesy of: imdb.com

This week, I did some research on fences, online.  An old film came up during my search, by Luis Bunuel, called Exterminating Angel. A Black and White film that was written and directed by Bunuel back in 1962. I have always appreciated the Avant-Garde/Surreal art, films and literature, so this type of film appeals to me greatly, and wanted to see if there were any ideas I could glean for my own work.

Basic Plot: A group of aristocrats attend a dinner, at the end of the dinner instead of going home as normal guests would, they start taking off their ties, jackets, furs and clothes, and make themselves comfortable to retire for the night. They find themselves unable to leave the living room, as if there is some kind of invisible “Fence” preventing them leaving. This mind-fence imbibed everyone, and no-one could leave. Eventually, one aristocrats figures a way to get by everyone having to re-enact the events when they came in, and eventually they all mange to get out of the mansion a week later.

What I liked about the film most was the fact that Bunuel introduced the surrealism slowly and right from the beginning. The servants had to suddenly leave,  for no reason, events became stranger and stranger, all with-in a “normal” type narrative. By the time a dis-embodied hand crosses the carpet, it is almost normal and expected. It was not an ‘art’ film for art sake, with weird pretentious  events and happenings, occurring for the sake of weird.  Everything happened weirdly within a well crafted narrative, so I could enjoy the film as a “normal” film, with surreal events and occurrences, happening that did not jar me out of the film story and plot.

This is something I would like to  achieve with my series for my FMP, my constructed images will be surreal and avant-garde but would like it to be accepted as the status quo. I found the piece to be a good lesson in “artisitc” restraint. Also discovered a new composer I had never heard of until this film – Pietro Domenici Paradisi   https://youtu.be/vihM0HbuiPI 

Played by a magnificent pianist. Annarita Santagada

I watched the case-study of Dana Lixenburg. Her project: Imperial Heights. I find it interesting that she new exactly how she going to photographer her subjects, and using a large format 4×5 field camera. Although been done before by Richard Avedon and Dorothea Lange both of which used large format, what I liked was that she was focussed in a small area of Los Angeles. The fact that it started off as a simple magazine commission then blossomed out into exhibitions and a web piece is every artists dream. Unfortunately I do do not have decades of gently unfolding time for this to happen, so I have taken steps to try and get into a gallery for part of my publication. I did like the way the images were shown in the galleries, in a mixture of line and grid, as well as incorporating different sizes. This opposed to exhibitions I have seen where they are all one size and in a single line. hopefully I would like to exhibit this way if I get a gallery exhibition.

Dana Lixenberg exhibition at Photographers Gallery in London 2017

Personally I do not like representational and objective photography, this is a trap for the modernists, so my work will focus on the abstract. I have been working on images since the beginning of the MA, and in the last module I went completely abstract, I may throttle back a little for my FMP, and will most probably do them in B+W, and because the images will be constructed, I will be using a myriad of camera’s ranging from 35mm, widely, stereo and 6×6. The reason being that these formats behave in different ways, and I will be compositing images from these cameras to make my final image. I embrace the digital age, so  I will incorporate digital and well as analogue in my FMP, and attempt to bring these disparaties together into  co-hesive whole, through th abstract image. I will hold it to-gether critically through a theme, as opposed to a singular format.