Documenting Imaginary Feats

Documenting <em>Imaginary Feats</em>

Posted: Nov 06 | Author: | Filed under: News & Updates | Tagged: , , , , , ,

Photographer Lisa Boughter documented our show Thursday night.  We don’t have her picts yet, but we do have some of her.

Documentation of Imaginative Feats, like most video installation work, poses specific challenges: because it’s dark, the exposures are long, and as the exposures are long, the moving projectors must be stilled and each of the video works, paused.  We thus have the luxury and responsibility of choosing particular still-frames for each of the projectors and for the flat panel display.  For similar reasons we must bracket for each scene: a few for the ambient light, a few for the projected image.  We then composite the resulting shots.  Which is easier now than it used to be: “Merge to HDR” is our friend.  And finally we must create views that include the various apparatuses—the rotating platform as well as the benches, viewers, parabolic speakers, etc, i.e., machinery of installation—because the point is to show not just what happens, but how.

So, not only is the staging of the work for photographic representation another turn of production, the work exists or fails to exist based on the photographic translation. For example, Guarded was first shown in an intimate space at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery in 2003.  We used the four walls but no rear screens, no complex architecture, no long throws of projections down corridors.  And the documentation represents the space as a whole only through a simple composite:

At LA Freewaves in ’04 we used 3 6′ by 8′ rear-screens and an existing corner to build a chamber in a much larger space and the results were interesting and have guided us since, both because the relation of inside to outside is now mediated by imagery, and because the documentation of the piece itself is invariably richer.  Here’s a video clip of the set-up at Freewaves:

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The documentation clip posted on the Guarded project page combines shots of this Freewaves installation with shots of the version at Sweetow.  The rotator has its drama, but viewers in the space and a view that includes both projections is only possible with rear-screens and more complex spaces.

We’ll soon post Lisa’s documentation of Imaginative Feats.