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30 MAY 2013

When Is Now? The Historical Present in Creative Practice

Thursday 27th June 2013, 10:00am – 4:30pm, Waterside 2, The Watershed, Bristol, UK.

"This one–day symposium explores the historical present in creative practice. In a cultural climate that valorizes the 'now' what does it mean to occupy the present moment? Our aim is to examine the present tense of creative practice as itself historical as opposed to understanding it as the end point of a linear chronological line. The symposium is motivated by a desire to pay attention to the atmospheric 'thickness' of the present tense in art, media and design practices and to imagine what kinds of experience can be articulated when what Lauren Berlant calls the 'ongoingness' of life is slowed down and brought into visibility. The symposium includes papers on the historical present in relation to painting, sound, photography, film, digital media and video."

TAGS

2013 • Betty Nigianni • Caroline Molley • chronological line • chronological sequencecontemporary presentcreative practice • Deborah Withers • design practicedigital media • Dot Rowe • film • Frank Bowling • historical present • historical understanding • inventing history • Jerry Walton • Katie Davies • Lauren Berlantlinear • linear timeline • media practicemomentmoments • moving sound • now • ongoingnesspainting • Peter Wright • photography • present moment • present tense • repetition • Rose Butler • School of Arts (UWE) • simultaneitysnapshotsoundstill imagesymposium • thickness • Tony Oursler • UKUniversity of the West of England • UWE • videovisual culture • Visual Culture Research Group (UWE)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2011

Flickr: Anatomy of a Long Photograph

"Earlier this month flickr announced that short video clips could now be uploaded to the popular photo site. Some photo purists were skeptical, even spawning a huge 'No Video on Flickr' group. After all, the sanctity of the best still images, rich in implied meaning, could be diluted by zillions 90 second video clips of someone's keg party (and we already have other sites, like YouTube for that). Flickr said the ninety–second limit was to encourage 'long photos.' There are contemporary videographers and filmmakers who have used video or film to create sublime still images: the best long photos. And one of my favorites is Godfrey Reggio.

I will never forget the first time I saw Koyaanisqatsi, Reggio's 1983 film about contemporary 'life out of balance.' I was mesmerized by his long drawn out shots. It gave me time to study the scene and, in part, that was the point: to stop moving and consider the consequences of going through life at an increasing interstellar speed. Sometimes there was lots of activity in the frame. But there were times when he pointed his camera at a scene that, on first glance, appeared to be a photograph. It was a still image with all the implications connected with still photography: observations of a slice of frozen time and a consideration of the photographer's framing and associations within that frame.

Yet given the chance to observe closely there was movement. The characters in this 'still' were breathing and blicking and moving. When I saw his scene of Las Vegas waitresses standing still but not still, I was blown away (the vernacular I used in the early 80s when I first saw the film). To this day it is my most favorite scene of any movie I have ever watched. I literally held my breath for its entire duration wondering how long it would go on. The intensity of that shot was immense. It forced me to really look. And that has always been my goal as a photographer: to make people observe what's going on inside my images for as long as I can. That is the mark of a successful photograph. Not so easy in a culture heavy with daily sound and sight bites always vying for our attention and beckoning us to move quickly from one to another."

(Jeff Gates, 21April 2008, Life Outtacontext)

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TAGS

19832008 • 90 seconds • choreography • environmental portrait • Flickr • Godfrey Reggio • intensity • Koyaanisqatsi (1982) • Las Vegas • life out of balance • living pictures • long drawn out shots • long photo • long photos • motion photograph • ninety-seconds • observationphotograph • short video clips • shotslice of frozen time • standing still • stasisstill imagestop moving and consider the consequences • study the scene • video clipwaitressYouTube

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 MARCH 2011

La Jetee: a science-fiction film about time, memory and history

"This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood. The violent scene that upsets him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years later, happened on the main jetty at Orly, the Paris airport, sometime before the outbreak of World War III.

Orly, Sunday. Parents used to take their children there to watch the departing planes.

On this particular Sunday, the child whose story we are telling was bound to remember the frozen sun, the setting at the end of the jetty, and a woman's face.

Nothing sorts out memories from ordinary moments. Later on they do claim remembrance when they show their scars. That face he had seen was to be the only peacetime image to survive the war. Had he really seen it? Or had he invented that tender moment to prop up the madness to come?

The sudden roar, the woman's gesture, the crumpling body, and the cries of the crowd on the jetty blurred by fear.

Later, he knew he had seen a man die.

And sometime after came the destruction of Paris. ..."

(Chris Marker, 1962)

Fig.1 [Français] Chris Marker (1962). "La Jetée", Argos Films.

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TAGS

1962abandoned streetsacross timeairportapocalypse • childhood image • Chris Marker • cine-roman • circular narrative structuredeathdestruction • Etienne Becker • Helene Chatelain • history • Jean Negroni • jettyLa Jeteememory • Orly • Parisphoto filmphoto romanphotographic stillspierportal (science fiction)science-fictionsequence designspectaclespeculative fictionstill imagetimetime travel • Twelve Monkeys • visual depiction

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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