screaMachine performance proposal

2 synced digital video projections with soundtrack. Performer is seated watching large video projection while animations are projected onto the back of his head. 5 minutes, 2000


Each TV soundbyte is separated by a 3 frame video ‘glitch’. The performer uses a remote control to appear to change stations, pressing a button in time with the ‘glitches’. The performer remains fixated on the large screen till the 5 minute video is over

Video A is a series of clips from TV edited together to form a 5 minute amalgam representative of TV programming in general. The artist recorded one hour of channel flipping on a Monday evening from 6pm to 7pm. This source footage was then edited down to five minutes, retaining the sequential relationships between the clips. It is constructed like an elongated advertisement break, with hyped soundbytes strung together for maximum impact. The performer sits and views the projection as though watching TV at home.
On the back of his head video B displays an interpreted version of the same series of clips. Video B represents the performer’s perceptions of the stimuli presented in video A. It consists of digitally manipulated variations on the original footage in video A combined with scrolling text. The text comprises uninhibited commentary on the video imagery, from sarcasm to insult to ridicule. The commentary is not meant to be insightful (though some of it may be), but reactionary; it is designed to mimic a disgruntled viewer acting (thinking) immediately without aforethought. The artist is expressing his own honest reactionary comments as close as possible to when he first viewed each clip, revealing an overall humorously dismissive viewpoint.
This simple device is complicated by the interaction between the two projected videos; the crassness and brutality of the style of video A is contrasted by the humor and irreverence in the style of video B. The artist first interprets TV by representing it in video A, which he then re-interprets in video B; the audience, viewing both versions simultaneously, are forced to switch back and forth between the two. Both versions are seductive and entertaining, competing for the attention of the viewer. As a viewer, the audience member is made question the interpretive nature of their viewing, both at home and in the gallery.

The removal of the TV image from the standard set and presenting it in an oversized projection lends video A a grandiosity undeserved; whereas the intensely worked animations of video B are miniscule in comparison, with only a few inches of screen room on the back of the artist’s head. The size of the video A projection directly relates to the enormity of the entertainment industry, while the size of the video B projection is related to the lack of voice, or relevance of opinion, of the individual viewer.

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© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved