Through the creative disciplines of performance and installation, projection and photography, how can we scrutinise acts of leisure and their paramount excess, probing intimacy and consent, and in turn, heightening the seemingly unconscious act of voyeurism apparent in such?
At the beginning of this subject, my understanding of a lacuna or what a lacuna could inevitably be was rather limited, so I initially became rather lost and confused as to the different possibilities for what our project could and would entail. The only aspect that I was more confident on was that I already had a proficient knowledge of photography, cinematography and video editing.
Throughout the course of the following weeks, explorations on the mind and body surrounding this idea of an all-consuming void filled my mind space, and originally, I thought that I would follow my standard design aesthetic in creating a film that was subtle, minimal and aesthetically pleasing on the eye. Soft colour palettes, a relaxed soundtrack and beautifully shot scenes were all qualities that I went into this project thinking that I would execute, and how wrong I was.
When we began brainstorming conceptual intentions for our video, we all agreed on the idea of documenting and demonstrating the nature of wasting time and definitive destructive leisure. The art and habit of watching by exploring the blurring line between mere looking and purposeful voyeurism within a space filled with forced intimacy stemmed from this whereby we original sought to strip out subject of control over consent and forcing an invasion of privacy from the audience.
Ideas started to deviate and branch out, where we questioned what defined a ‘watcher’ and time wasting, however I noticed that no matter how far we strayed on a tangent, we always came back to the notion of subconscious voyeurism that was apparent in definitive destructive ways of leisure. We became fixated on this quote from Mike Parr, “I had to just remain composed and control all my reactions. I had to maximise the tension and create a kind of invisible wall between me and the audience. It was that process of experiencing that detachment and self-control that became the basis of me doing performances.” This was a direct correlation to what we wanted to achieve with our film where we wanted to expose and deconstruct the “fourth wall”, a conceptual idea of an imaginary wall that separates fictional worlds from reality, by forcing engagement from our audience.
I’ll admit that a project utilising the undeviating nature of found imagery from the internet, which would then be appropriated and recontextualised, has always been something I have wanted to pursue, but just never had the opportunity to explore. It wasn’t until the later weeks of this project, when we were shown examples of found imagery used in works from renowned artists that I suddenly became so inspired that this may be a perfect opportunity to do so, and thus I suggested and pushed for this alternate direction for our project. I felt that it would bring a whole newfound richness to the content of our video and reflected our research question very well.
From this point, we began to do extensive research on vintage erotica, as we felt it was the most raw and real form of pornography, and collated thousands of clips that portrayed a range of sexual orientations, genders, ages and races. It was imperative that we showed this diversity as we didn’t know at any point the cultural or ethical positioning of our audience on ChatRoulette. The responses that we received from multiple sessions of ChatRoulette interactions were a combination of astounding and expected, where some engaged with our project with excitement, arousal or dismissal.
Through the use of experimental imagery, we created and staged our own disjointed and abstracted pornography film and soundtrack that exposes not only the essence, beauty and complexity of erotica, but in turn exposes and trumps our audience as voyeurs by us watching and recording them then viewing our project. This inception and cyclical disposition is what makes our project so successful and abundant in deeper meaning.
Overall, I am really proud of the work that our group has executed and the collaboration between all members. In a project that could have appeared juvenile and immature, we managed to display sagaciously and in a sophisticated manner. Not only has this work been insightful into video editing and technical aspects, it has made me more aware and appreciative of our conceptual thinking strategies.