flatness study : achim at Sangsang Madang, Seoul, Korea October 18th- November 2nd, 2008
Many of us are frustrated with the paucity of depth of the media simulacra. 3-d computer animation has become an extremely effective and popular means of avoiding this problem.
Much of our most vital information today, however, comes to us in the form of photographic and videographic documents. Compared to computer-generated ones, these documents are far more ungainly to work with in attempts to engender a more dimensional documentary media work.
The documents are ungainly with the richness of information about the world they contain, thus the question of resolution includes the question of discoursive priorities.
The question of the point of view of the documentary gaze, of course has been much discussed.
Photo- videographic documents represent a view through a lens, light reflecting off the subject and into the receptor near the documentarist.
We get a slice of life, light-thin and glowing. What it lacks in depth, me make up for with our imagination, this is the double bind of today's media.
McLuhan's cool media is lacking a lot of detail and thus allows us to be more active making up for the missing part. This is the fascination and the frustration with new media.
In Flatness Studies I am trying to warm up cool media by presenting a video document, almost a portrait of a person in a moment of their life, but from several vantage points at once.
In a way, the process hearkens back to the early days of photography where the subject had to remain still for a long time.
The young man in this portrait is about to join the army to do his compulsory service. I asked him what he feared and hoped most will have changed in him once he has completed his service.
Here, making the most of the capacity of video to give at least the depth of time, the moment of portraiture can be expanded. In the case of this work, the moment is between 4/5ths of a second and 6 seconds.
The result is a kind of sculptural modeling of the long moment using flat media. The interesting thing for me is the 'déclenche' (what is released) as the temporal fact of each particular document begins to meld, since, of course each vantage point of the 'same' expression must have taken place at a different historical time. We have an insight into the nature of the most important activity for the creation of meaning in the age of information overflow, that of editing.
In 2009, I was invited to Banff New Media Institute to further develop the Flatness Studies series into the 4-D Photo Studio.