Critical Writing Index

Scene as Space Across Time: Presence, Passage & Transition

by Katy McCormick

BlackFlash, 2008, v. 25, no. 3, pp. 8-21

Focusing on the contemporary cultural implications of new media practices, Katy McCormick discusses the work of artists Robert Lendrum, Romeo Gongora, Melanie Friend and Sara Angelucci. McCormick takes a curatorial approach, staging the different parts of her article as "scenes," to discuss how the artists, in working with a fixed lens, engage durational media such as digital video and sound practices in order to explore the notion of "presence" in their work.

McCormick explores Robert Lendrum's video practice as a negotiation between fact and fiction due to the staged yet seemingly documentary scenes that figure prominently in his work. In contrast, Romeo Gongora's work explores notions of site and presence through an intimate and emphasized staging of the subjects. McCormick argues that, by employing durational techniques, Gongola creates an active relationship between the settings and subjects of his work and augments their presence. Sara Angelucci's When the Cricket Sings makes the setting of Shanghai the subject of the work. By attaching a film camera to her bicycle as she moves through the city, Angelucci is able to capture the dynamic presence of the old city in a documentary and narrative form. Melanie Friend's work diverges from that of her counterparts by juxtaposing photographic prints with sound-based installation. In McCormick's interpretation of Friend's work, the still lens produces a fixed image of absence, such as empty Immigration Removal Centres, that are made present by the corresponding audio testimonies of asylum seekers.

McCormick concludes by arguing that the lens-based work of the artists in review in her article heighten the "bodily presence" of both its subjects and its viewers. This is achieved through the various interdisciplinary techniques the four artists employ.

ITEM 2008.192 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

stillsRobert Lendrum

Family Re-semblanceRobert Lendrum

ImposterRobert Lendrum

Marie-JeanneRomeo Gongora

Fort-Da (Ooo, Aaa)Romeo Gongora

When the Cricket SingsSara Angelucci

The Domestic Visits, Harmondsworth IRC (Heathrow)Melanie Friend

Border CountryMelanie Friend