Oscillations

This research was conducted during April 2019, primarily in Morvern in the North West of Scotland and was made possible through the support of Glasgow Life’s Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards.

The goal of the research was to begin developing the visual style for a moving image work inspired by circalunar rhythms. This project is part of a longer term enquiry into what a feminist aesthetic of interrelatedness, multi-subjectivity and liminality might look like in multi-channel moving image installation work.

I stayed by the shore of Lochaline in Movern, where the water at high tide was only a few meters away from the door. I used my time there to contemplate the tidal rhythms and experiment with the framing possibilities of two lenses I had not used before. The clip/compilations shown here consist of test shots using macro (SIgma 105mm 2.8 macro) and fisheye (Nikon 10.5 mm 2.8) lenses on my Nikon DSLR.

The ultra wide-angle of the fisheye is interesting, and can facilitate some novel perspectives. But I think, for me, the trademark circular distortion calls too much attention to itself. The lens did prove useful for some specific interior and close up shots, for example, being able to shoot the stove fan through the kettle handle (see Starfish Stove Fan below). However, it can be a noisy effect and if overused might fight with the quieter rhythmic and temporal qualities I am aiming to foreground.

The macro lens proved best at creating the kind of images I find myself interested in for this project. Perhaps a lack of familiarity with the very small allows for a kind of conceptual ambiguity to emerge in some of these close ups? The more abstract the image, the more untethered from its referent it appears. Perhaps the restricted framing adds to the elusiveness of the context too? If the image cannot quite be made sense of in the normal way, it more easily transforms into an image-object in its own right. I expect this conceptual ambiguity to help draw attention to the formal qualities of the imagery and facilitate a more direct phenomenological engagement with the work.

As the connection between an image and its original referent becomes less certain then, what new associations might begin to adhere to the image? Might the ambiguous image-object have an intrinsic openness to connection, allowing it to borrow meaning from proximity to less obviously related images? If so, what surprising conceptual linkages might be generated through careful editing or collage? And might encountering these abstract, indeterminate or distorted visuals physically, in the context of an installation space, be capable of provoking a corresponding openness in the visitor?

Going forward, the next stage of development will be the creation of a structuring soundtrack. The challenge will be to develop a shape for the work by adding sound layers that resonate with and expand the themes, while still maintaining the conceptual openness of the images.

Special thanks to Glasgow Life, Anna Raven, Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte and Jennifer Evans.