Thursday, 20 March 2008

Addendum to the premier of 14 History Lessons

I premiered my work 14 History Lessons, 18, Visions, 21 Beatification in January, then on 14th March I re-screened it with the modifications in place suggested by the audience reaction from the first screening. After the discussion last friday, a friend who is also an artist within digital media suggested that although I'd spent 18 years trying to integrate various elements into a linear timeline (actually 20 if you go back to when the original inspiration came for the work) perhaps the problem of the work lay in this attempt at integration and that perhaps all the elements would work together more easily or sympathetically to each other and to the audiences experience, if I separated them !

That's my exclamation mark. 20 years work is not a light undertaking. But I am now committed to finding out how a piece of work functions for an audience regardless of the cost to myself. Last year I worked with Robert Cahen. I sat with him operating an edit suite so that he might make a piece of work entitled Blind Song which he was making for the Blink project (links on the side). Robert had previously made a piece which only I and Sandra Lischi, a professor of Digital Art at Pisa University had liked - more than liked, were excited by. However, the majority of viewers had not liked the piece as it re-evoked a use of classical music juxtaposed with its antithesis in terms of image - this technique being prevalent 40 years ago and exemplified by Stanley Kubrik in 2001 a Space Odyssey. Robert understood that Sandra and I were ahead of the wave in accepting this juxtaposition but that it was important for an artist to know where his or her audience were at.

So my 70 minute piece will be broken up into several sound and image streams and become not only a linear work but also an installation. Unlike In Other People's SKins which is simple and pure, 14 History Lessons is mightily complex. It was begun after all, when I was 20 years younger, before I had learned my lessons (spoken about in the previous blog) made at a time when I had a tendency towards the portentous. So given what I know I'm in the position of having to nurse a less that ideal work into the level that I now understand to be important to work at. It might be argued that I should leave this alone and let history judge it but the motives I had to finish this work are still with me so as an experiment I shall continue on in the hope of re-engineering the work to my current level. We'll see.