User:Nicole Hametner/Graduate Research Seminar 2013-TM5.01

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Nicole Hametner, outline for praxis based thesis 

ABSTRACT

The following essay is an attempt to disclose my artistic research over the last two years. Parallel to my visual working process, some theoretical aspects will be discussed, coming full circle with my practice. The main part of this text contains a description of the intended outcome in constant dialogue with theoretical issues arising. This text can be seen as an insight into the process as well as a documentation of the final graduation project. Within this linear order there will be four main fields approached. 1) I want to focus on photography's main concepts insofar as they relate to my work. 2) The video image in relation to the concepts previously discussed to the mechanisms of the electronic moving image. 3) The cinematographic image and its relation with time. 4) The technical image in the 19th century and the contemporary perception of time. My conclusion will investigate how the above issues are reflected in my graduation project.

INTRODUCTION

Having a background in photography, I now work with the intersection of the analog still image and the electronic moving image. Within that constellation my interest focuses on their media specificity. An initial observation between stillness and movement indicates a different behaviour in time and ends with the question about their materiality and thereby inherent constitution. I want to approach the notion of photography's "thereness" and what the coexistence of an absent presence in relation to its indexical imprint could imply. While the photograph fluctuates between two temporalities, past and present, its apparent stillness seems to dissolve and consequently evokes the uncanny that occurs between the frozen and animate. Under these aspects it is interesting to look at the video image and to see how far away it actually stands in opposition to the photographic image. While digitally split, its fragments are in constant movement, the image always lies between becoming and fading and is therefore never present as a whole. With this text I do not intend to make in-depth technical insights into these two technical images, but rather, I use their mechanisms as a conceptual framework to reflect about the image in relation to time. In addition to this, the confrontation of the analog photographic image and the digital moving image introduces the question of materiality and thus its character of indexicality. The chapter Black Box explores what is being transformed or "lost" in the analog-digital conversion. I key into this point and investigate the construction and dissolution of the image itself. Through the deepened confrontation with my research a repeated topic became evident and seemed somehow to summarize most of the aspects I am dealing with: The ungraspable and fragile moment, the threshold of an image's existence that oscillates between presence and absence. One of my aims has been to achieve a better understanding and to strenghten my methodology. My work is strongly based on intuition and tended toward introspection. During the working process it is not always easy to translate those rather unconscious mechanism in words. Furthermore come the often quiet abstract themes, that are difficult to get to the heart of, what challenges a clear articulation of my own work. This thesis aim is to translate my practice based research into words. I use this rather methodology based essay to achieve a clarification for myself. Nevertheless my intention is to end up with an artist statement that addresses the audience. While reflecting on the different temporalities in photography and the video image, the intangibility of time somehow stands here as analogy for the conflict of translating my research into words. As Laura Mulvey points out in Death 24x a Second, Stillness and the Moving Image: There is a difficulty articulating the mediums relation to time, that lies "beyond the verbal language" and description. That even becomes clearer while thinking of the general struggle to understand the passing of time itself and "the conceptual space of uncertainty: that is, the difficulty of understanding time and the presence of death in life". This is probably one of the main reasons why I work with photography and trust - sometimes more sometimes less - its ability to communicate my thoughts.