context for this post: i had been doing a lot of reading for my contextual study about landscape and gender and how landscape is a visual structuring system that reflects the values of the society that produces it, namely values about class and gender. part of my reading (Rose (1993), Solnit (2004), McDowell (1999)) discussed the origin of a single, fixed, distant perspective or gaze as indicating a male position of control over a landscape against a more intimate, up-close perspective of the female. i just wanted to explore or test these arguments using movement and my camera. these explorations led me to my video piece ‘i slouch and i asymmetric’ which is a search for ideals – beauty, symmetry, balance in a real landscape and through the eyes of a real body. i submit ‘i slouch and i asymmetric’ as part of my ‘landscape and i’ work.
i am just after a few days in Tipperary where, as usual, i spent most of my time walking the mountains, woods and quiet roads around Gortussa. i took my camera with me most days to record and respond to the landscape along some of the lines of enquiry that i have begun re landscape and gender.
framing the landscape and disrupting the single gaze: one of the things i have been thinking about in relation to gender and landscape is how the landscape is framed. according to the geographer Cosgrave (cited in Rose (1993) and part of my contextual study) landscape has been presented as “a partial world view” from the perspective of a single observer, historically a male gaze that indicates class and power. he argues, this view of the landscape has existed since the merchants of the Renaissance first commissioned artists and map makers to represent their land and wealth using their new spatial and mathematical understanding of perspective and space. anyway, using a mirror, i have been trying to disrupt perspective and the single gaze and also thinking about who is framing the landscape and how it is framed.
multiple gaze one. 02.04.18. bishop’s wood. gortussa.
multiple gaze two. 03.04.18. bishop’s wood. gortussa.
multiple gaze three. 04.04.18. lough curra. galtee mountains.
reflection: landscape and position: re my mirror selection: the round mirror works when it is moving as it is not biased one direction or another. i could use a mirror more suggestive of domesticity like a dressing table mirror if i want explore/disrupt inside and outside binaries. i could also use a handheld mirror like the ones found in a grooming set if i wanted to be more suggestive of gender like the rollers in my form, fracture, frame. i think it might be better if i use a straight edge mirror if i want to play around and disrupt angles and lines of perspective. again this exploration is following on from my ‘from the middle’ snow video. body and landscape: i like a sense of movement and the sound of my moving footsteps but it might be better to just move my gaze rather than the whole body. there are also interesting appearances of the lens or my feet and hands popping into the frame/shot from time to time, raising questions about who is doing the framing? landscape and weather: seems to be a lot of weather interference coming through in the videos also; wind, wet footsteps and then a bright blue sky in the last video. seems to be linking to the questions i have been having about the idea of a real versus a romantic landscape and might tie into the weather recordings i have been doing. although i think i want to work that into image and word print. i wonder is there some link to mirror and the mirror writing i did with weather forecast text though? could i write text on the mirror i use to gaze on the landscape?
next step: i could try a straight edge mirror and try moving the gaze alone rather than the whole walking body. i could try text on a mirror. i could try 2 mirrors which might be fun like the eyes are going in different directions. it might be interesting to add the sound of a moving body or some or something that adds a different layer to disrupt the binary – is it one person or two, is it male or female, it it inside or outside, it is moving or still? this could become a video projection installation of some kind – some way of playing around with these divisions????? so… a video/installation work should be added to my project plan. i wonder might be interesting to use my 3d ceramic work as a filled receptacle and therefore a mirror – an informal performance?
references: Rose, G. (1993). Feminism and Geography, The Limits of Geographical Knowledge. Cambridge: Polity Press.
more exploratory work of gaze (week 12 – 13.05.18): continuing on my exploration of gaze and the landscape in terms of gender. here are some images i took while out walking the mountains this time with a square unframed mirror. i also took lots of video footage which may become part of a short video piece with narration. i also have some interesting footage of me struggling up a steep slope which seems to tie in with the real romantic notions of landscape and gender… have some ideas about a narrative voice over this which i will research this week.
more exploration of gaze, this time using the mirror to really frame the view but again relating to viewpoint and perspective. not sure where these will go if anywhere but happy to keep gathering and be lead by instinct rather than any intended outcome.
starting to refine exploratory work on gaze: (week 13: 20.05.18)
went on instinct when i was out on the mountains doing some multiple gaze work last weekend. i had intended to work again on the gendered gaze in terms of far and near perspectives but this time with an unframed rectangular mirror rather than the circular mirror i used the last time. when i went back through my photos and videos i was drawn to the videos where i had simply tried to align the landscape along lines of symmetry with the mirror. maybe because it suggested ideas about ideal beauty, balance in nature and also in the body or face. i only had some really short clips and i edited them together then felt one said it sufficiently and emphasised the act of looking. i also edited the clip with a voice over about symmetry and how we are attracted to symmetrical faces but again i thought this was telling the viewer what to see or think. i thought about song describing ideal beauty maybe something to hum to. i even looked at contemporary rap lyrics describing the perfect b****. in the end i left it to play alone with the title at the end to indicate what its impetus was – real and ideal, landscape and body. real body in a real landscape – two eyes and one landscape – striving for the ideal but odd, uneven, imperfect … i slouch and i asymmetrical. i think it could be something to play around with as a large visual projection, maybe exploring projections using mirrors. funny how the sound of the bird repeats and repeats ………. to be continued.
Leave a Reply