Museums; ‘Performing Temporality’ | Initial Proposal

Proposal Form – Initial Structuring

Who/What:

I aim to photographically investigate museological performances within heritage spaces. I intend to photograph waxwork models within historical constructions and dioramas, in order to examine the effects of these constructions on authenticity and immersion. I am investigating and documenting a dying generation of museological practices.

I will photograph my subjects in a way that isolates the human body, focusing on the realistic, authentic nature of their creation, this technique will allow me to photographically conceal connotations of the ‘surrealism’,  ‘the uncanny’ and ‘estrangement’. The exceptionally realistic nature of these waxwork figures are slightly unnerving in an appearance and prompt visceral responses of unease, discontent and turmoil due to the conflicted nature of these figures. Their uncanny and oddly realistic but fictional appearance is juxtaposed by odd familiarity and innate emotions of recognition and empathy. I will also draw on and examine the effects of these objects in relation to our experience and levels of immersion and authenticity within museum spaces.

When: 

I intend to spread around 3 shooting sessions, give or take across the semester. I will do initial shoots during early March as a pilot and initial shoot in order to ascertain what technical settings are most appropriate, exploring shooting and compositional styles. I will then conduct a second shoot that will develop initial thoughts, ideas and photographic styles, developing my technique, approach and skills further. My third shoot will be used as an opportunity to conduction re-shoots alongside compositional adjustments. I will also use this time as an opportunity to possibly take photographs that will re-create some of the images taken from STEAM. I will be using human subjects (friends) to re-create some of these images in order to photographically illustrate the surrounding discourses I am exploring.

Why:

I intend to conduct a photographic investigation and documentation into a decaying state of museology, by exploring how waxwork imitations depict a cultural and temporal performance within the space affects our relationships with these objects and the authenticity and immersion within the institution. Does the uncanny nature and appearance of these objects create an odd sense of empathy and recognition or familiarity among visitors? Does this allow for a more attentive and intense level of engagement among visitors? What affects does this ‘performance’ of time have on visitors conception of authenticity or artifice? This visual investigation will encapsulate the tensions of the ‘uncanny’ and the ‘familiar’, the ‘counterfeit’ and the ‘authentic’, the ‘abject’ and ‘beauty’; that these waxwork figures embody.

How:

I intend to shoot these waxwork creations that are housed within STEAM using my Canon 750D using my Canon EF 70-300 mm Telephoto Zoom Lens Canon. I intend to isolate and focus on particular areas of the figures that appear most realistic and human, I want to create a sense of intimacy within my images, in an attempt to illustrate the uncanny and the innate emotional recognition and empathy within this experience. Due to shooting inside with little/poor lighting I will be shooting using a shutter speed of around 1/50s – 1/80s in order to strike a balance between image sharpness and lighting conditions. I will be shooting using a large focal length due to the nature of my photography being within a public and institutional setting, there will be considerable distance between me and the waxwork figures so in order to still achieve a sense of detail and intimacy I will have to use a larger focal length to achieve my desired shots. My aperture value in the middle ranges, this will allow me to achieve a shallow depth of field whilst allowing optimum light to enter the iris in order to compensate for my somewhat restrictive shooting conditions. My ISO value will be very high in order to compensate for low lighting and shaded areas, although, I will try to balance off my other settings to minimise image loss or grain. [However, image grain could give my images an aged an authentic feel due to their ties with traditional truth documentation photography.]. If I have the opportunity to do so, I will also attempt to re-create some images of the waxwork photography with real people in as to highlight and illustrate the uncanny and surrealist nature of my visual investigation.

Reading Reference:

Gunning, T. (1989) ‘The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectators and the Avant-Garde’, Wide Angle. Vol 8 (2/3).

Bate, D. (2004) Photography and Surrealism: Sexuality, Colonialism and Social Dissent. [Online] London: I.B. Tauris [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Freud, Sigmund. (2003) The Uncanny. [Online] London: Penguin Books. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Peres, R. (2013) The Focal Encyclopaedia of Photography. [Online] 4th ed. Burlington: Focal Press. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Lury, C. (1997) Prosthetic Culture: Photography, Memory and Identity (1st ed.) London: Routledge

Lomas, D. (2000) The Haunted Self: Surrealism, Psychonalysis Subjectivity (1st ed.) London: Yale University Press

Foster, H. (1993) Compulsive Beauty (1st ed.) London: MIT Press

Mette, T.C. (2016) Walking in the Museum – Performing the Museum. [Online] The Senses and Society. Volume 11 (2) 136-157 [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Geczy, A. (2017) The Artificial body in fashion and art: marionettes, models and mannequins. [Online] London: Bloomsbury Academic. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Smith, M. (2014) Why are dolls so creepy?  Available from:http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/20141201-why-are-dolls-so-creepy [Accessed 17th March 2017]

 

Proposal Draft 2:

 

prop2

References:

Artsy (2017) Jeff Wall. Available from: https://www.artsy.net/artist/jeff-wall/works  [Accessed 8th March 2017]

American Museum of National History (2017) Hiroshi Sugimoto: Four Decades of Photographic Dioramas. Available from: http://www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/news-posts/hiroshi-sugimoto-four-decades-of-photographing-dioramas/ [Accessed 8th March 2017]

Bate, D. (2004) Photography and Surrealism: Sexuality, Colonialism and Social Dissent. [Online] London: I.B. Tauris [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Emmaus (2017) Emmaus Bristol support Keep Bristol Warm initiative. Available from: https://www.emmaus.org.uk/bristol/latest/news/2098_emmaus_bristol_support_keep_bristol_warm_initiative [Accessed 25th February 2017]

Foster, H. (1993) Compulsive Beauty (1st ed.) London: MIT Press

Fraenkel Gallery (2017) Dioramas. Available from: www.fraenkelgallery.com/portfolios/dioramas  [Accessed 8th March 2017]

fallenheero (2012) Why is film grain used in films? Are there any good implementations or films where it made sense to use film grain? Available from: https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/xcnzc/why_is_film_grain_used_in_films_are_there_any/ [Accessed 17 March 2017]

Freud, Sigmund. (2003) The Uncanny. [Online] Revised ed. London: Penguin Books. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Geczy, A. (2017) The Artificial body in fashion and art: marionettes, models and mannequins. [Online] London: Bloomsbury Academic. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Gunning, T. (1989) ‘The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectators and the Avant-Garde’, Wide Angle. Vol 8 (2/3).

Hiroshi Sugimoto (2017) Portfolio. Available from: http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/diorama.html [Accessed 8th March 2017]

Hoban, P. (2012) By inventing her own genre, Cindy Sherman has influenced the way generations of artist think about photography, portraiture, narrative and identity. ARTNEWS [Online] 14th February. Available from: www.artnews.com/2012/02/14/the-cindy-sherman-effect/ [Accessed 8th March 2017]

IMDB (2017) Saving Private Ryan (1998). Available from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120815/videoplayer/vi1701906201?ref_=tt_ov_vi [Accessed 17 March 2017]

Kim, E. (2017) How to Master “The Decisive Moment”. EricKimPhotography [Blog]. 07 January. Available from: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2010/07/01/%E2%80%9Chow-to-masterthe-decisive-moment%E2%80%9D/ [Accessed 8th March 2017]

@KeepBristolWarm (2017) Twitter. [Online] 22 January 2016. Available from: https://twitter.com/warmbristol?lang=en

Keep Bristol Warm #KBW (2017) Facebook. [Online] 11 June 2015. Available from: https://www.facebook.com/keepbristolwarm/ [Accessed 25th February 2017]

Lury, C. (1997) Prosthetic Culture: Photography, Memory and Identity (1st ed.) London: Routledge

Lomas, D. (2000) The Haunted Self: Surrealism, Psychonalysis Subjectivity (1st ed.) London: Yale University Press

Museum of Modern Art (2017) Cindy Sherman. Available from: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/cindysherman/gallery/2/mobile.php [Accessed 8th March 2017]

Mette, T.C. (2016) Walking in the Museum – Performing the Museum. [Online] The Senses and Society. Volume 11 (2) 136-157 [Accessed 15 March 2017]

National Geographic (2017) An Photographer Documents the Evolution of Taxidermy. Available from: http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/11/a-photographer-documents-the-evolution-of-taxidermy/ [Accessed 8th March 2017]

National History Museum (2017) Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016. Available from: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/gallery/2016/adult.html [Accessed 18th January 2017]

Onions, I (2016) Council cuts mean shorter opening hours for Bristol’s museums. Bristol Post [Online]. 2 September. Available from: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/council-cuts-mean-shorter-opening-hours-for-bristol-s-museums/story-29679016-detail/story.html [Accessed 17 March 2017]

Photomedia Reader | Goddard, B. (2016) Photomedia Module Reader 2016 -2017. Bristol: Caron Neutral

Peres, R. (2013) The Focal Encyclopaedia of Photography. [Online] 4th ed. Burlington: Focal Press. [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Smith, M. (2014) Why are dolls so creepy?. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/20141201-why-are-dolls-so-creepy [Accessed 17th March 2017]

Swindon Borough Council Civil Offices (2017) Steam: Museum of the Great Western Railway. Available from: http://www.steam-museum.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx [Accessed 17th March 2017]

The Art Story Foundation (2017) Cindy Sherman: American Photographer. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-sherman-cindy.htm [Accessed 8th March 2017]

Vergo, P., ed. (2000) New Museology [Online] Revised ed. London: Reaktion Books

Vella, L. (2011) Even Better Than The Real Thing. Thinking Practices [Blog]. 01 December. Available from: www.thinkingpractices.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/even-better-than-the-real-thing/ [Accessed 8th March 2017]

White Cube (2017) Jeff Wall. Available from: http://whitecube.com/artists/jeff_wall [Accessed 8th March 2017]

Yong, M. (2017) ‘Stay warm brave heart’: If you see a scarf around a lamp post next week this is what it’s for. Bristol Post. [Online] 20th February. Available from: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/if-you-see-a-scarf-tied-around-a-lamp-post-in-bristol-take-it-if-you-need-it/story-30138973-detail/story.html [Accessed 25th February 2017]

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