Rossetti 5. 2013
Rossetti Encounter 5 Animation (6 minutes 46 seconds)
Rossetti Encounter 5 Installation
This hand drawn animation traces in layers, the process of evidencing my in-situ observation of the Rossetti Self Portrait in the Print Room at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Using nearly two thousand drawings, the process of making this animation, much like the memory of an event, parallels the saccades of the eye, layered in time to create the piece. The time taken to observe Self Portrait by Rossetti within the museum collection is recalled as a condensed record of my museum activity. Shot at twenty frames per second the animation is slow enough to allow the eye to hover between seeing movement and just perceiving each frame as a separate image. I recorded the noises of the museum on location, the additional sounds of paper, and my own drawing activity. The occasional hum of static refers to the activity of the brain whilst observing and drawing. The extended single shot sequence at the centre of the animation refers to the sustained concentrated activity of observation and drawing during the museum encounter.
Installation within a windowless space recalls the Print Room space at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The anticipatory nature of drawing, the core concern of the animation, is amplified by projection from above onto a sheet of white paper placed on a matt black desk measuring approximately 110 cm x 90 cm. The horizontal presentation of the animation is informed by viewing the Rossetti Self Portrait in the museum Print Room. The projector, speakers, and media player are supported by a bespoke frame attached by slim metal rods to a ceiling brace. The animation is looped to repeat with the animation audio filling the installation space with the sound of the museum and of drawing.
In his examination of the nature of modern attention writer and art critic Jonathon Crary describes the reconfiguration of vision at the turn of the nineteenth century as tending towards models that stress the, “…dynamic, temporal, and composite…” (Crary 1999, p.148). Contemporary theories continue to emphasize this instability. The French philosopher Jacques Derrida for example, understood drawing to be, “…an act deep-seated in memory and anticipation…” (Derrida, 1993. p.49) The anticipatory nature of drawing is the core concern of this animation and is the culmination of theoretical and practical knowledge acquired over the past two years.
My encounter with the Rossetti self portrait at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery was the catalyst for a publication: Ali. C. (2013) Trace [online] in TRACEY Drawing and Visualisation Research Journal – drawing in-situ
Crary, J. (1999) Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London. The MIT Press
Derrida, J. (1993) Memoirs of the Blind The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins. Translated by Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Chicago, London. The University of Chicago Press