Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Size Matters

Last night I went to a Hindu Temple to talk to the priest. The reason being that to make a work which involves a community, as the work I'm currently shooting In Other People's Skins does you have to make peace with that community and you have to be allowed by that community to take something from them, their image, even if you're going to give something back. I hope this work does in fact do that.

Loosely, In Other People's Skins is an extension of The Dinner Party, my standard def version of a group of people eating a meal, shooting from above, then projecting the virtual diners back down on to a table of the same size, putting some real chairs around it and some real plates to serve up the virtual food to the viewer.

I have shot many documentaries as a simple camera person, been in many communities and situations that I wouldn't have been in if it were not for the work I was doing and somehow, having stopped that work a while ago, the act of art is bringing in this rather wonderful exposure to the multiplicity of cultures on the planet. And of course, In Other People's Skins is about placing one's hands in another persons hands and clothing oneself, albeit virtually, in their skin. Later I shall work on The Laying on of Hands which is another extension of tables and hands which also involves the act of healing, by those that take part, and by those that view the work - it's all so bound together.

You can't make art or technology without it having an effect - in this case the effect was on me as I stood watching the priest giving prayers and leading the community in speaking to their version of God - in this case the many faces of God in the form of Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesh, Kali et al. That was humbling because I couldn't help but be appreciative of how people are always inclined to help the cause of Art, somehow seeing below consciousness that it is a force for goo in some way.

Technology is not necessarily in the same league, but it can be harnessed in the cause of art and that is what I'm currently exploring.

I've recently been looking at people's hands - in fact I've always been looking at people's hands since seeing at an early age the pictures of the masters of Western European painting who gave to the Judaeo-Christian son of God such wonderful mudras and gestures to occupy his hands in their paintings.

But this recent project is focussed on the hands and in fact whilst setting up the shoot for this project I conceived another one to be shot at the same time. It was influenced or inspired by seeing an acquaintances hands. This is Peter Copely a 92 year old actor. My piece will be called Peter's Hands and will look at the act of greeting another - by holding their hand.

So in all of this I shall be looking in extreme detail at the hand and therefore I need High Resolution, or definition, to show to others what I have seen and imagined. So in this case, as in so many cases, bigger is better - bigger in the sense of more pixels, more detail, more resolution and hopefully more resonance happening in the mind of the viewer as she or he witnesses what it is that I, in this case the artist, tries to convey.