This research project proposes the camera as a tool in the creation of sculpture. Exploring the ways in which the sculptural process is transformed by its relationship to the moment of filming, it aligns itself with artistic practices and theories which foreground material exploration, uncertainty and improvisation, and draws on a number of key artists who have used film and video to extend and explore sculptural practice. It situates fine art practice as a vehicle for exploratory and open-ended research, forging strong links with contemporary art educational theory which sees the creative process as heuristic and immersed within a social context. Using Winnicott’s theory of transitional objects and conception of psychoanalytic practice as a specialised form of play, the PhD forges strong connections between the engaged, responsive and explorative work done by the artist, analyst, teacher and student.
The research presents a form of artistic research which facilitates encounters between objects and cameras, through which learning can take place and knowledge can be created - knowledge, which is not discrete or abstracted, but contextualised and embodied. The aim is to involve people in its processes and methods, as opposed to presenting finished works and findings, inscribing the reception of the work into the making process thereby producing active viewers and participants who are thoughtfully and practically involved within the making process.
The artistic research method revolves around a collection of objects made to prompt physical, material and imaginative exploration in front of the camera. The camera’s field of vision is re-considered as an arena or situation structured in order to facilitate exploratory activity. ‘Filming sculpture’ becomes the situation/set-up which organises the production of objects-as-sculpture in ways that open up questions around sculpture as a particular category of object, the nature of film experience, and objects more generally.
The PhD submission comprises a series of films and gifs, documentation of exhibitions, screenings and discussions undertaken during the research, experimental workshops, and photographs of each of the sculptures. The main written element consists of a series of aphoristic texts and a contextual document, which both draw on ideas and concepts from art and film theory, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, object- oriented ontology and anthropology, outlining the development of the research and situating it within a wider network of practices.
All images ©Bill Leslie 2009-Present