Temporal thresholds

I started to think about loops as a kind of temporal default for video installation and realised that this kind of unanchored immersive view of time might be a problem ie not in keeping with spatial threshold because the experience of space and time cannot be separated .  Being in and out of time is a threshold condition.

So I wanted to structure the work in time in a way that was also spatially congruent.

One solution is to divide the work into elements ( call them chapters) spaced apart by interludes.

Each interlude corresponds to a spatial experience in which one is aware of the screens, not as projected images but part of the space of the work.  It is a time for being in the space of the screens as say architectural elements.

The Chapters  contain the work itself, in which the screens function more conventionally as carriers for the projected moving images.

In this way the work moves forward both temporally and spatially, the visitor moving between spaces, in and out of interludes and chapters.


Screen as threshold

With the project  focused on liminality I have needed to consider how screen based installations (my preferred form of presentation) might work in this context.

Thinking of the screen as threshold is helpful – as an architectural element that separates private and public space etc.

In terms of media theory, I now realise that the intermedial gesture is a kind of dynamic  threshold condition, moving between being in a medium and the staging of a medium (outside).

In terms of ‘spectatorship’ the intermedial gesture maps on to a region between cinematic viewing (being in a medium) and structural film (staging of a medium).

These slides are from the research paper presentation

I am exploring a two screen configuration to explore this threshold condition.  This seems practical for the final show and defines a space between the screens which is not completely surrounded by screen and can be entered from a number of directions.

The following slide shows how the space infront of the screens can be activated by projecting a shadow from an object (what it is will depend on many factors) onto each screen A and B.  The effect of this would be to return the ‘visitor’ to the space around the object in which the screens become walls.



More shadow books


Atomic light (shadow optics) / Akira Mizuta Lippit.

Dreams, x-rays, atomic radiation, and “invisible men” are phenomena that are visual in nature but unseen. Atomic Light (Shadow Optics) reveals these hidden interiors of cultural life, the “avisual” as it has emerged in the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and Jacques Derrida, Tanizaki Jun’ichirô and Sigmund Freud, and H. G. Wells and Ralph Ellison, and in the early cinema and the postwar Japanese films of Kobayashi Masaki, Teshigahara Hiroshi, Kore-eda Hirokazu, and Kurosawa Kiyoshi, all under the shadow cast by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Akira Mizuta Lippit focuses on historical moments in which such modes of avisuality came into being–the arrival of cinema, which brought imagination to life; psychoanalysis, which exposed the psyche; the discovery of x-rays, which disclosed the inside of the body; and the “catastrophic light” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which instituted an era of atomic discourses. With a taut, poetic style, Lippit produces speculative readings of secret and shadow archives and visual structures or phenomenologies of the inside, charting the materiality of what both can and cannot be seen in the radioactive light of the twentieth century. Akira Mizuta Lippit is professor of cinema, comparative literature, and Japanese culture at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife (Minnesota, 2000)

In praise of shadows / Jun’ichirō Tanizaki; translated by Thomas J.Harper and Edward G.Seidensticker


An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure

New higher power lighting rig

Conversion of lighting rig to power three Xlamp LEDs as studio lighting, each channel using 2-3A and delivering about 20 Lux to a screen at 3m (without lens).

This is the kind of power I need to illuminate a screen and still be able to shoot video at ISO6400 or pref below.

Cree Xlamp LEDs mounted on v slot as a heat sink, tripod for orientation

Notes on shadows

The contrast between shadow as a subjective element (psychology, projecting into the unknown etc) and shadow as objective source of information (science – astronomy, medicine etc).

Shadow as medium – a non-refractive optics as opposed to lens based optics.

The historical idea of the shadow as a projection of something opaque ( say a body) associated with the soul, versus a new form of shadow derived from the idea of the X-ray, where the interior of the body is now revealed, partially transparent and medicalised.

Atomic optics – permanent shadows in  stone from the atomic blast in Hiroshima.

Interiority versus exteriority, the historical opacity of the body versus the modernist transparency of the body.

opacity – transparency.

Link to photograms – Moholy-Nagy refers to X-rays when he writes about photograms.

Using shadows – blending layers (darken blend).

The shadow as indexical trace – are we hard wired in our response to shadows (say shadows in moonlight while hunting) that we reach out to interpret them (out of necessity to anticipate danger).

Origins:  the shadow can be a naturally occurring form of image -so  is the shadow on a screen or surface natural or actually projected? ambiguity. A lens based image on the other hand must always be projected by another lens based apparatus (cameras and projectors have reciprocal functions).

Consequently..the potential aliveness of the shadow.

William Kentridge comments on the absence of facial expression in the shadow play – the need for gesture to convey emotion.

The shadow is a complex interplay between light source, object  casting the shadow and the surface the shadow is projected onto.

The shadow and drawing…