gender, body & the framing of landscape (some practical experimentation)

journey through undressing the horizon

getting real: recently i have been writing up an exhibition proposal about what my work is about and some ideas about how i intend to install work. it was all feeling a little bit aspirational until today when i just started to experiment physically with the materials, forms and type of installation i have in mind using still and moving image. am starting to get a better sense of what this work could look like for me as much as for the viewer and how this work could develop further over the coming months. here are some images of today’s exploration using a bitmap on a transparency of a sea landscape through which a moving image/video of that same landscape is projected.

landscape’s framing using still and moving image

with handheld transparency

reflection – further development: it has been such a relief to get started on giving concrete, physical form to the ideas i have been exploring through research related to gender, lens, body, landscape. the use of still & moving image, print & video seems to be saying something about the framing of the landscape which is what i want to really figure out. i think the specific sea as landscape is also saying something as is the morning light and time of day. there are some things i want to do next. first i’ll try to fit the size/scale of the transparency to match the size/scale of the moving image – with and without border. i will need to print at at least a3 for this to work with a projector. i need to either get an a3 printer or find somewhere to print the bit maps on transparencies. i will need to decide what size they should be first by messing around with the video’s projected size. i suppose i will start with a 16:9 ratio for the print anyway. i think i should explore the printed image in colour also perhaps separate the bitmaps into cyan, yellow, magenta, black? i like the way the still image projects onto the moving image, which changes as the viewer’s body moves when looking. it feels a little bit like being on a boat and watching the horizon moving. i also like when the viewer’s body captures a shadow on the work – i have to figure out if this is a necessary component. i think the soundscape has potential for something that builds up with layers or maybe a fragmented narrative of some kind. on a more practical level – at the moment i am just using a projector propped on my desk and hand holding the transparency. i need to now start getting real about how the projector and still images could be hung or positioned or else it is all theory without real form. i am happy with the quality of this projector though but must get my media player attachment working somehow to minimise clunky technology and a heap of wires for visuals and sound. all in all a really productive afternoon.




what i am at: lately i have been trying to gather my thoughts and get some kind of structure on my contextual study. have been under the weather a bit too but have continued to gather and make but just didn’t get around to posting til now ….

video and print: one of the areas i though i would continue to explore before deciding on which works to include in the exhibition was an idea i had to combine still and moving image – again all referencing my current preoccupation with how i frame the landscape – define its edges, decide where it starts and ends, translate landscape from experience, capture and recapture it and new experience somehow. of course there is something about time in the framing of the landscape when looking at the still an moving image together – a disturbing of the single fixed perspective which is moving and unfixed. it also seems to be asking which landscape is true and how can i know a landscape?

gathering: i instinctively went out to sandymount early last saturday. i think i knew that the horizon of the sea would work well with what i was thinking about in terms of deciding the frame and edge of the image. the horizon seems to move between a physical finite and a intangible infinite. i also felt that the constant movement of the water would be interesting against its still image – ripples or even birds moving across a still image. i gathered short videos and corresponding stills to play around with. i also edited my still to the 16:9 ration of the video – or at least i thought i did!



printing: in my previous experiment, i had printed a bit map of a landscape in black on a transparency and thought i would screen print the separate layers of colour as a next step. as i have only 2 screens big enough for the scale i needed i just did the black and cyan layers. i worked quickly enough because i wanted to just wanted to get a feel for it.

printing on transparencies: i recently bought an a3 printer and a3 transparencies to explore scaling up for the video scale. i really didn’t expect the screen printing ink to set on the transparencies and thought i would test out its possibilities even if the ink was wet but it turns out the ink does set although sticks to the screen and i need to be careful lifting the screen.

printing on muslin: another idea i had from my last experiment with transparencies and video was to print on some kind of cloth or netting – again i’m not sure exactly why yet but i was interested in seeing the video projection pass through the image on a more textured surface. i bought a couple of meters of muslin to try out and i like its texture and the hand printed feel to the image on the cloth as the ink sits on top of the material and bleeds a wee bit at the edges.

testing together: so today i tested the video projected on/through the transparencies and the cloth. i first tried separating the printed layers and then brought them together and just mounted them on the wall which works in its simplicity. i feel the still image against the video where birds cross the image and the waves move in patterns is starting or trying to do something which is making it all the harder to decide which stays and goes in terms of the exhibition. ‘contemplating a mountain’ stays for sure and then perhaps this one with wall mounted prints and a projector?

 with transparencies

with muslin

some rough testing

reflection: i think that i could push this further. i want to keep it simple and let the still and moving image sit together. this is where i could push it – maybe create some tension between them by angling them or not fully matching them up…. loads of options. i really need to start printing the CMYK layers and see what happens – build up or down the still image or how about applying that to the moving image.

some notes from tutorial with NM (13.03.20): had a lovely chat with NM and feeling positive about having more questions than answers and also about the likelihood of a digital exhibition. some notes … in discussing my exploratory work, NM asked me to consider how the sound relates to the visuals of my work and how this in turn is experienced by the audience – as the visuals layer, could the sounds layer also? NM also asked me to try and articulate what i mean by ‘frame’ – is it about the experience within the frame or the border and edges and, if so, how can this come into focus for the audience – through physical boundaries to the projections, through use of scale within a physical space etc? NM also asked me to consider how the gaps in the visuals and the blurring of the visuals (especially using the fabric as screen) might be echoed in the soundscape. my process was also discussed in terms of the impetus to ask questions without being able to articulate/ verbalise it’s answers. NM suggested that these experiments could develop into a series or collection of work rather than arriving at a singular piece of work with a definitive answer. He also suggested that the digital exhibition format using multiple screens, fade in and out of pieces, varying scale etc could resonate and be very suitable to the work. so the upshot: follow the work through exploration. try options as they arise – be responsive. don’t be worried if you don’t (pre or post) know answers – follow the questions, answers can be the experience rather than the explanation – these questions can be your statement rather than your answers. continue to explore knowing why you are going rather than where you are going, in terms of outcomes. allow audience to bring their answers to the work.



refining work: getting closer to making my selection of work for the digital exhibition so before i make the selection i am going back through each of my works and working on them further – refining them i suppose. i will give myself the next 2 weeks to rework/refine/further develop each of my video and/or print works. i am looking forward to moving them all on although i will be busy and it means working in the studio at night. refining work includes re-recording some of the projections to include myself in the frame and reediting the quality of the sound and/or images (colours) in the recordings of these projections. i am also reworking some of the soundscape narratives and possibly including some text… to be decided.

now then (CMYK): the first one up is my still and moving image. picking up where i left last time i worked on this piece, over the weekend i printed through the CMYK process to see these still image colour layer with the colour video moving through and behind these. i printed on paper and on transparencies although i intend to use the transparencies with the video. i enjoyed the blast of colour after my monochrome black & white printing sessions last week. one of the points that came out through my peer review was the idea that a soundscape could develop like the layering of colours in the prints. i will see how this pans out when i set up the projections tonight.


cmyk process of full image

now then (b&w): i also decided to scale up the video projection and print a series of close ups to hang in front of the moving image. i am not sure whether it will work better in black and white video or with colour video. again i will explore this in the studio tonight. although my printer can print the bitmap, i think its necessary to screen print these images using the unpredictable wet process as i outline in my contextual study – a physical presence against its digital immaterial presence and all its gendered readings.

b&w process cropped image at larger scale

testing projections: i worked late into the night last night, testing how the projections of moving images work with the still prints. i tried them out in lots of different ways – first by hanging the prints from the ceiling using clear line. i was unhappy with this method as the transparencies curved and the visuals looked complicated. i tried to redress this by hanging the transparencies from a paper top rod but it cast a strong shadow and again the visuals started to get complicated. i did like the way these transparencies moved when hanging even though it was a ‘still’ image – but again felt there was too much happening visually. i finally decided to keep it really simple by mounting the transparencies one the wall one at a time. i could imagine this working in a physical ‘gallery’ space – perhaps a series of small images with varying degrees of CMYK transparencies. i edited my recordings in lots of different ways today – as a wall mounted projection, as a close up projection that reads well on a monitor. i also worked these edits in reverse (un-layering the image rather than its movement in reverse) and thought of the undressing of an image and how it might relate to the feminisation of the landscape…. might feed into a narrative or? anyway here are some images of last nights work and today’s edits…. refining only leads to further refining.

hanging/ceiling mounted transparencies

colour transparencies layered on colour moving image

colour transparencies on projection

colour transparencies on projection revered layers

close up of projection on black and white

close up of projection on black and white – reversed

larger projection with still images

reflection: i think i got through a lot these last few making sessions although it still seems raw rather than refined. i have come to some decisions in the direction i want to go next. that entails working with with projection rather than monitor version, work with un-layered sequence, develop the soundscape (i had taken it off the sea sounds as it needed work – kind of works as a ‘silent movie’ effect though and i love the visceral/haptic sound of the projector), think about a narrative related the undressing of the image/landscape/body. if this works as a ‘silent movie’ might this be text? looks like a lot still to do to refine and bring together but some decisions made which should make it easier.




moving it on – geometry: i am continuing to work on my still and moving image installation and have spent another few nights this week playing around with how they might sit together. last week i was unhappy with how they sat on top of each other so this week i rearranged the still and moving images in different ways until i was happier with how that reacted together. i worked on instinct but was also aware that my decisions resonated with other aspects of landscape that i have been exploring, reading and writing about recently. the arrangements that i was happiest with seemed to send the horizon line off kilter and looked like the perspective was stretched. this automatically made sense in the context of the reading i have been doing on the single fixed perspective, mapping and its gendered associations with power and the commodification of the landscape. another thing that struck me was that the arrangements brought me right back to some of my architectural drawings and also reminded me of a recent book i had been looking at in relation to Euclid’s geometry – again popping up in my contextual study in relation to landscape mapping, gender and the masculinisation of rational thought.

moving it on – colour: i had a good chat with KF in relation to last weeks still and moving image work and she suggested that the colour changes were also causing a feeling of disorientation in relation to the landscape, especially at the moment of their changing. the term ‘undressing’ seems to fit with the way i have been working through the CMYK process with the still image as prints but in my initial experiments i edited out where i physically went up to the wall and changed the colour layers. this  doesn’t seem consistent with how i want to approach this digital exhibition – looking on what i exhibit as a recording of a physical video installation rather than something for the monitor. i think keeping the physicality is important as this was my impetus for making this work before any talk of a digital exhibition. more importantly, its physical capabilities align with my exploration of the embodied lens and its relationship to the landscape. so for this weeks experiments i edited the moving images first where the moving images change through the CMYK layers and the still image remained still and fixed as a black image. also, rather than as separate CMYK layers, i ‘undressed’ the moving image starting with CMYK to MYK to YK to K.

moving it on – sound: another part of my discussion with KF also brought up my approach to sound, perhaps echoing the colour or visual ‘undressing’ of the image with the undressing of the soundscape in layers. so again, i edited the sound where 4 audios, reduce to 3 audios, to 2 audios to 1 audio as the colour layers are stripped off the moving image… yes, ‘stripping’ ‘undressing’

anyway, here are some stills of the work. i will hold off on showing the recording of this installation until the exhibition – sounds like i have selected this work so.

various arrangements – separate colour layers

various arrangements – undressing the composite colour layers

various arrangements – undressing the composite colour layers

reflection: i think there are many things i have improved on – the soundscape as a series of unlayering works – i wonder if it is still a little subtle and sequential – does it need to be unsettled by the unexpected? i am much happier with the colours even though i am not sure an audience would know what the colour changes signify other than starting as colour and ending as black and white – perhaps i could allude to this in title or? the arrangement also looks a little like an open book. i like the way the still image is not half across the moving image but off centre- again reminding me of my discussion of  binaries, gender or otherwise and a sliding in between….

further development and refinement: i went at it again – set up the projectors and print. ended up returning to a composition where still image aligns with the moving image as i think the moving horizon works best this way and shows its inability to be fixed. it is amazing how many permutations i have to go through to find myself back where i started. it always feels like i start by going through all its possibilities and end up doing a decluttering of them bit by bit – colour, form, idea, sound etc etc., distilling it back to its initial intention which i sometimes loose sight of …. some type of journey.


GIF file for digital exhibition

final thoughts: i replayed some of my monitor work where i changed the CMYK layers through editing – i think this might be where i pick this work up again ….. sometime in the far off future (post MA).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: