× Good Enough Sculptures:
What Happens When Sculptures are Made to be Filmed?
A Territory – Preface Introduction Three ‘Finished’ FilmsThe Research Practice Collaborative Films Improvisation Sequences and Split Screens The Camera, Film and by Extension Perception Aphorisms Filming ‘Real’ Sculpture Gifs The Sculptures and Objects More Generally Conversation with Franz West, April 2019 Table Tops – a Conclusion of Sorts. Nothing is Finished Download as PDF
Sequences and Split Screens


Included in the submission at this point is a split screen film montage, one iteration of a number a montage films made for presentations during the research. Unlike the films included previously, this should not be considered a finished work, but rather an example of the way in which video and film material has been sequenced and arranged in order to generate new and different experiences. This is not to say that this work is of less quality than previous work, rather it was felt important to hold the material in mutable relationships. This decision was prompted by the developing enquiry, gaining understanding of the significance of the ‘work’ produced as an invitation, created for viewers, to rethink continually what it is they are seeing, and to open up thoughtful, associative and imaginative possibilities.

It is around the half way point in this four-year research project, and a huge amount of film material has now been produced (and continues to be over the entire course of the research). A series of exhibition and screening opportunities allows the material to be sequenced, initially as three-screen montages, combining images shot on 16mm (colour and black and white, negative, positive, hand-coloured, professionally developed and processed by hand), slow motion, Hi-definition (using the C3000 studio camera and my own ‘entry level’ Canon 550D DSLR), VHS, and MiniDV. Despite the differences in frame ratio and image quality, the clips begin to speak to one another, creating an ever-expanding sequence of images, most between three and thirty seconds in length, some recurring, others appearing only once. The split screen allows for images to appear in different combinations. Originally shown on three separate projectors, the varying refresh rates of the media players meant that, as the three films repeated over the course of the evening, different combinations occurred, different connections could be made. ... The first split screen iteration was shown at a silent group critique run by Peer Sessions, the London-based ‘nomadic crit group for artists’4 run by Charlotte Warne-Thomas and Kate Pickering in 2016. Many enlightening comments were made during the group discussion.5 Subsequent iterations were shown at the Theorem exhibition at the Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University in 2017 and a Kingston School of Art PhD seminar at the ICA Theatre in 2017. What follows is a short account of the discussion held at the Peer Session presentation.

After having watched the repeating films for some time, a group discussion began to which I could only listen. They talked about the nature or appearance of the objects and their ‘tactile, haptic quality’ as well as the perceived presence of the hand throughout – both evidenced in the roughly made objects, and the sense that hands hovered at the edges of the screen, orchestrating events. They spoke of the sculptures as props and described the ‘presence of a person in all these things’, as well as a Modernist sense of truth to materials. It was noted that the camera never moved, focusing attention instead on the ways in which the objects themselves behaved and performed, as opposed to using the camera as a way of seeing all around; as if the objects were saying ‘I do this!’ There was discussion concerning the nature of the objects: were they sculptures or props or playthings, somehow reliant upon the presence of the ‘player’? Despite noting a number of different sculptural styles and characteristics, the group seemed to have no trouble considering the objects as a whole.

It was at this point in the research that the question, of whether it was useful to think of these objects as sculpture, was posed. They clearly relate to sculpture, but the films are not straightforward documents of sculptural objects which pre-exist the process. Whilst they referred to the objects pictured as sculpture, the Peer Session group seemed naturally to consider them as having been made for the camera (which of course they were). What had begun as a necessity – that of having to create sculptures in order to test what happened to them when filmed - had become its own practice; one of creating objects to be filmed, which looked a lot like sculpture, but which challenged many assumptions about what discrete sculptural objects might be.

At this point it became clear too that these objects were interesting in their own right, not simply in how they might be considered to embody certain sculptural characteristics. They had taken on something of a life of their own. Equally the footage seemed to form a loose collection of material, which could be sequenced in different combinations, allowing subtle shifts in nuance.