Initial Research – Final Project

I’ve started researching my final project, a reminder of what I’m proposing to make:

“To create a sculptural work (let’s call it a lightbox) that changes the imagery displayed within it depending on how the viewer interacts with it. The data that feeds the sculpture (the source being a narrative film created using appropriated footage) and the film will be used to create an online artwork.”

My feedback from my Unit 1 assessment highlighted the lack of an in-depth theoretical context for my work, so before diving in and making I’m been considering what footage I’m going to use in this project, and why.

I started by researched the origins of the MGM logo and it’s slogan (Ars Gratia Artis / Art for arts sake) which provides me with the link between cinema, appropriation and what Nicholas Bourriaud describes as ‘Culture as Screenplay’ linking my practice back to cinema and appropriation / postproduction.

There have been seven lions filmed since the 1920’s and that the first lion, Slats (1916–1924) rather than roaring savagely at the audience, gazed silently out at them, contemplating and reflecting their gaze:

So this got me thinking about the moment in film where a character looks out at the audience, closing the gap between the fictional and the real, the narrator and the viewer. I thought about John Stezakers’ Third Person Archive and how he creates moments of mystery through the editing of an existing image, and how the third person as he imagines, could perhaps be the viewer of the piece, instigated and involved in the work.


Chris Markers’ Silent Movie (I saw this at the Grin Without A Cat show in Whitechapel (cats feature heavily in Marker’s work – another link to the MGM lion) in 2014) also feels relevant, the same film staggered (and stacked) – connections and narratives created by the viewer, and in the moment.


The influence of Markers’ piece seems very obvious now – the sculptural video part of my proposal as part- response to his Silent Movie piece.

I’m going to start exploring building a grid of screens 6 x 4, perhaps hacked android tablets. These will each house appropriated moments from cinema, where a character turns and looks out at the viewer. The ‘turn and gaze’ will be triggered by the viewer, perhaps by motion detection, perhaps by gesture.

I took a moment from Hitchcock’s Vertigo (itself a direct influence on Marker’s La Jetee – he wrote about it here) and created a ‘gaze moment’

And this kind of moving image could be housed in within a sculptural object / lighbox, draft mockup below:



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