Stillness and motion: contemporary art at the intersection of the pictorial tradition and cinema's technological shift
AuthorHine, Simone Lisa
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2015 Dr. Simone Lisa Hine
This research investigates ways in which contemporary artists engage with cinematic traditions, via new technologies of viewing that bring cinematic paranarratives into focus, in order to generate new forms of narrative. Through practice-led research, the dissertation articulates a trend in contemporary art in which artists use the pictorial tradition of art in order to generate new narratives from familiar cinematic tropes. This is linked to the emergence of new technologies for the reception of cinema that allow nonlinear spectatorship. The dissertation argues that artworks created in this context provide a site where the history of cinema and art are intertwined, and central to this is the introduction of stillness as a key aspect of cinema reception. Stillness brings the hidden photographic base of cinema into the diegesis of artworks that evoke cinematic tropes. Rather than presenting stillness as a disruption to narrative, which has been a dominant approach in film theory, this dissertation asserts that by juxtaposing multiple narratives in a single installation within the gallery context, artworks use stillness to produce numerous possible narratives from cinematic tropes. The creative component consists of a series of performance and video installations produced between 2005 and 2010. These works create scenes that evoke incidental moments that appear to have been isolated from a broader cinematic narrative. They are evocative of cinema in general, but do not make reference to specific films. These moments are extended through time and expanded spatially, utilising the pictorial tradition of stillness. In the absence of defined linear narratives these artworks simultaneously fragment and synthesize disparate narratives. Through a combination of my own artworks and those of other contemporary artists, I will discuss the way artworks that apply stillness to cinematic tropes are able to explicitly evoke paranarratives that are inherent in cinema, but operate implicitly. Central to this argument is an examination of the materiality of the technologies that inform and facilitate artistic production. In this case, technologies of cinema and its distribution, including screens, projectors and DVD. Stillness and material presence are methodological approaches central to the pictorial tradition of art, but are here applied to cinema in order to generate new narratives out of well-worn cinematic tropes. By re-examining familiar cinematic tropes the thesis has re-directed an inquiry toward that which surrounds cinema and the transformations that occur when audiences leave the cinema. Through a recontextalisation of spectatorship in the gallery, this research has demonstrated how stillness, as part of the viewing process, has presented us with unprecedented methods with which to explore cinema as a series of “incomplete texts”.
Keywordspractice-led; contemporary art; digitsation of cinema; digitization of cinema; cinematic; motion pictures; non-linear spectatorship; punctum; constructed photography; installation art, video art; performance art; Roland Barthes, Laura Mulvey; Gregory Crewdson; Douglas Gordon; Philippe Parreno; Mike Nelson; Pierre Huyghe; Zinédine Zidane
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