Constant Screen (2012)
Multi Channel Video Installation with 11 moving image works.
Accompanied by a limited edition poster and DVD.
Ceri Hand writing on 'Constant Screen' states
"A trippy steel sci-fi structure with iPhones & iPods strung up displaying adverts pixellating, an escalator with no people on & gambling machines with no punters... Cables loop over & under the steel to form a canopy to view from and within... on the main screen opposite eyes are prised open, laid over the top of each other, mounting up hysterically, which is actually the artists own eyes captured via a screen casting software recording her moving images around the screen. You can feel the artists influence from her time spent in Tokyo – seduced & repelled, her reflection on the condition of the digital are illustrated here... we are literally enmeshed in an unseen network…Circles & triangles of Perspex hover expectantly over the visitor as if they are about to puncture the viewer." [with permission - originally published on Ceri Hand's blog on 11th Sept 2012]
The ‘Constant Screen’ is a reflection on the artist's own subjective response to information overload and excess – specifically through the vessel of the screen - and the constant distraction and pull into these shiny glowing surfaces.
A large back projected screen displays a single channel video recorded using screencasting software directly from the surface of a computer screen. The software catches an unseen user's movements dragging and overlapping various videos playing at the same time. The viewer can trace this through the movement of the mouse over the images, and the occasional instantly recognizable drop-down menu. The video contains multiple windows playing separate windows. Most of these smaller videos are of Katriona Beales' eyes gazing at screens. Some are focused on a distortion in one of the artist's pupils – a birth defect which effects how her eye processes light. This is not spelt out, but included as a way of demonstrating a kind of natural glitch. Others show her eyes glinting in the dark as she watches unknown programs. Others show various screens glowing – flat screen TVs in shops, laptops on desks and mobiles in someone’s hand. The overlaid videos also have overlaid audio – snippets break into audibility – some conversation, some operatic music, someone reading the news. This video is called ‘The Distracted Gaze’ and forms the centerpiece of the installation. It is intended to engage the viewer but not to generate a sense of sacred contemplation, and in it's repetitive use of footage to release the viewer to examine the 10 moving image works playing on various handheld devices like ipods.
In front of this screen are 2 metal frames linked by a pattern across the floor tying the 3D elements into a bigger floor-based drawing. These respond to Larry Roberts early 1960s network drawings – made from observations of people walking through public space and used as studies for how to network multiple computers together. The structures and pattern on the floor form a kind of web – the is the network which we are all immersed and enmeshed within. From these metal structures and from various points in the slanted ceiling 11 small screens such as iPods are suspended by wires and cabling. Each of these smaller screens carries it’s own tiny video – tiny intricate glowing images. ‘Tokyo Billboard’ shows a animation of stills of an LED billboard images being refreshed. The superfast shutter speed captures the programmed turnover of images – the code beneath which the eye is too slow to capture. All are miniature musings form parts of the artists' response to the seduction and horror of the screen.
'Constant Screen' installation image by Betty Borthwick