At the beginning of this year, I feel a little unsure, I'm a little lost in terms of ideas. I've found that after focusing on hair and the body for so long it has left me a little dry with my ideas. I feel like I should move on, I just don't know where to. I'm slightly worried I'm flogging the dead horse with hair. I only have vague ideas now relating to possible changes in direction.
As part of my research last year I looked at many animal transformations in media. The fly (1986), an American Werewolf in London (1981) and I consider Raw (2016) to also be this animal transformation style film. I've also read Kafka's metamorphosis, and I find all of these transformations fascinating! especially the in-between stages of the process. Is there any way to create a fine art transformation? I have thoughts about how this could be created using stop-motion/time-lapse animation. I lean towards this because this kind of animation the movements are somewhat jerky and insect-like in my mind. But there again it might actually end up being detrimental, as the natural movement of the body is lost. Maybe I could approach this on a micro level? focusing in on individual hair stands or nails growing and out of the skin. I found these strange samples on youtube and I think if I could some how recreate them it would be really interesting.
Here are my attempts at capturing the textre and skin at a micro level.
In terms of new materials, I still enjoy using natural primitive substances. I wonder if the next progression in my work is using the skin of the animal since allot of my work focuses on the outer layer of the human/animal. I acknowledge that this will drastically change the way the work is read is this matter is only taken from the dead. I do much prefer the idea of shed fibres combining from different species. But I need to try something new, something more visceral, hands on, I have the means to gather the skins of farm animals. It would be interesting to look at where this potential material could take me. Maybe something loosely inspired by Dorothy Cross' Virgin Shroud, but more performative.
I found a video of a dance inspired by the work of Martha Graham a dancer/choreographer whose work often evoked animalistic childlike gestures (she was cited in Mike Kelley's essay which I was researching for my dissertation) the first 30 seconds or so of the performance is in very poor lighting filmed on a old camera the figure is blurred and it is unclear what parts of the body we are looking or even if the creature is even human. The gestures are kept low, the figure often returning to the ground and rolling about in the darkness in ways that resemble a primate. The lighting then comes up and the dance continues. But I found myself really intrigued by the first 30 seconds of ambiguity. I am inspired to use the camera in this way, to obscure detail so that the subject is no longer identifiable and combining it with animalistic movements that further make the viewer question that what they are looking at is human. I wonder if a could make things that alter the camera lens in a similar way making my figure appear more ambiguous. I started something similar last year, when I would backlight wool and move behind it, I think this may be something that needs to be revisited possibly using other methods.
The description of the video reads "It was not unusual for Graham to send a dancer to the zoo to observe an animal as part of their preparation for a role. The weight, power, and unique movement quality of a big cat can be studied in a zoo but what happens to any animals persona after years in a cage."