Reflection on ‘I sensed two bodies’

The video work “I sensed two bodies’ will be shown during the MA Visual Arts pop-up exhibition on 21st of March at Camberwell University of the Arts.

There is much to tell about my short video ‘I sensed two bodies‘ and here I will briefly reflect on that with some reluctance. Why this hesitation?

Because I feel this might shift the small piece somewhat. One might take it all too literal after reading this reflection. By explaining how I see and made the work, the  ambiguous layers and – more important – the openness for the viewer’s interpretation may get lost too. “Never explain your art in great detail, as this may demystify what is it all about, let them find out theirselves”, an experienced artist advised me once in good faith.

 

However, here I rely on a quote of American philosopher Herbert Dreyfus, which the film starts with: “things show up in the light of our understanding of being“. Grasping this, this reflective text might be not harmful anyway, as your own understanding is a far powerful filter than the described one here.

Starting point for this video work came from a remark from a personal friend. “Your art is more about the philosophical implications it brings. But whether people do see that, remains a question”.  Well, never mind the latter, let’s focus on the philosophical side of things, of humans, I should say. So, the opening sentence of Herbert Dreyfus may leak a clue to the thinking of Heidegger, which plays certainly a part in this piece.

Furthermore I wanted to proceed with the idea of transformation of domains. Let’s deconstruct how I got there. Firstly,  I decided to use earlier made shots of the so-called blood moon. Last year, I stayed up a long night and had an intimate encounter with the fabulous moon through my long lenses. As refraction appeared in some weird way, it resulted in the greenish artefact and I played a kind of boxing match with the two. Here my process of playfully making connections is apparent again.

The nature of the footage was important for this video about transformations as the moon can be read as a natural phenomenon and therefore representing reality while the artefact is already a lens-transformed version of it. Hence the digital footage contains two bodies from different natures / degrees / domains.

 

Building a further vocabulary on the swings, which are resonating in some way in my moving work, felt a good way to introduce myself as reminding this video about being human with senses. The two bodies that can be sensed to interact here with the viewers two eyes, or the more ways to see, for instance the literal and the figurative or maybe other dualisms that may be appropriate.

In the video I also wanted to emphasise on the intuitive understanding of what happened in relation to the something-elseness. And on the human experience of ‘two’ and the phenomenological approach I took. Being-with in Heidegger’s language? ‘One is only in relation to another‘, to summarise these concepts.

But simultaneously being aware of the ongoing human interpretation processes, this continuous looking for the meaning, which is arguably a scientific heritage of our age. Thus, I decided to bring forward different forms of measuring. Not quantitative but qualitative, more like a social science experiment but the factors are neither from one domain, but maybe drawn from different (academic) disciplines.

 

Then there was the idea of trying to capture what actually happened, the memory function between night and day, as shown by transforming the objective translations into subjective data forms. How can one capture an experience in the arts and keep hold to that experience without objects in the end?

The so-called notes at the end of the video may somewhat ironically suggest that the generated visual data are only in need of a proper explanation for their colours, directions, orderings and sizes to recall the bodily experience in some way. Which is not going to happen as such.

In conclusion I can state that this deconstruction afterwards was only possible after the creating was finished.

The working title ‘meeting bodies without understanding’ lost its value during the editing.

My notebook pages were reminding me ‘how the digital and the physical world can collide, ask for attention, do not connect often’ amongst other thoughts that influenced the three day working process.

And I realise that writing this reflection is an essential part of the documentation of the work, as artworks are conceptualised both in dialogue (with oneself in reflection or with others in speech) as well in their visual language.