Year 3 Autumn assessment
This year, I have moved away entirely from speech and performance and focussed my practice on a new tangent. As stammering to me was quite an isolated feeling of existence I wanted to keep the same style of practice within my work; I came across the theory of Solipsism, a belief that “I” am the only living mind in existence and the matter of time and space which I live in is merely a creation, moulded by my sub conscious as well as the experiences I go through, people I encounter and emotions I feel. Whilst this theory is believed to be a doctrine amongst some (the Solipsists themselves) we the rest of society; see this as a mental health issue, which is what I’ve been reflecting on throughout this term.
Sticking to the true point of a solipsist, I focussed on one primary subject in my work as this high tens the egocentric life choice of a solipsist. I chose Photography to capture the true finesse of the matter; but chose to have the subject facing away from the camera to take away that paparazzi ideal that, the solipsist believes that they are their own true god. Posing infront of a camera is meant to represent always being in the public’s eye and being noticed by the people around you, the rest of society doesn’t believes this perhaps mundane feeling of existence, therefore the world doesn’t want to know who this person is because of their narcissistic lifestyle. Juxtaposing the view of the audience, the Solipsist may chose to ignore the public’s eye, by turning their back from the camera this show arrogance in the opinion that, you don’t exists therefore it doesn’t matter what you may think of me?
Looking at Andy Denzler’s work he replicates the retro aspect of paused VHS recordings into paintings, the appeal of shattered subjects in a simplistic way truly produces a strong dynamic effect from his paintings. Replicating the retro pause effect in my photographs highlights the shallowness of a solipsist being frozen in their desolate idea of believing they are the only mind in existence, the shattered effect was to create dynamic effect of parts of the subconscious splitting and ‘creating’ people, space, experiences around the solipsist so they don’t feel alone. The splitting of the subject has a subtle similarity to multiple personality disorders; although the two don’t necessarily connect together they are still mental health issues which is what I am replicating through my imagery.
Philip-Lorca’s photography reflects a strong oppression of distress and isolation, the subject here is facing downwards surrounded by almost complete darkness symbolising the mundane life he himself is trapped in, looking desperate for a way out.
Here is one of Manson’s albums The Golden Age of Grotesque, the subtle usage of blurring his portrait can almost illuminate him to be alive.
My own response to this opinion of isolation in the style of Manson’s album cover, was to do a reverse effect of his makeup by blackening my face and highlighting only my lips and eyelids. It creates a rather eerie image in itself but doesn’t show much of an identity to the subject in matter, looking more ghostly rather than human.
The Red Pill Room – The Tangled Chains On The Swing Set of Solipsism
After looking through a lot of online lectures and debates on Solipsism I noticed that every person was referring to the solipsist as ‘He’ or ‘Man’, this could have been a coincidence but it got me thinking are there more male solipsists than female? I came across this article online stating that women have much more self-importance than men when it comes to relationships, explaining that they are worry more about their actions effecting their relationships with men and that solipsism isn’t ‘selfishness’ its more ‘self-involvement’ as men are more likely to say “what needs to be done?” where as women would say “what can I do?” These are subtle links to solipsism although its not entirely universal as the article says.
This article got me changing the idea that instead of working photos around myself, I should focus the solipsism of somebody else, ideally a female.
Above is a small amount of favourite photos from a contact sheet I took of my subject, I’ve kept to the dark black background to keep the focus into the subject however the blackness adds more character to the piece and reflects desolation. I decided on the subject facing away from the camera; this adds egocentricity and take away the paparazzi ideal of always posing in front of the camera trying to be the focal point, a true solipsist has no true connection with anything outside their own mental state therefore they should see no basis to look at the audience.
Trying something different here, I wanted to experiment with a ink wash effect. I like the subtle effect of the running ink however I don’t feel it has as strong of an effect as my photos.
Andrew Huang’s video performance ‘Solipsist’ is a rather unique and vibrant piece of film that consists of starting off rather simple into a very colourful and innovative movement, I can see that it plays with the concept that life experiences are simply part of your mind and that you cannot determine if anything is real at all as we view these images with our consciousness. Although the video often revolves around groups or pairs that doesn’t necessarily support the Solipsism view, however the climax of the video when the two heads collide and swirl through a cascade of rainbow and sand whirls could indicate the idea of isolation within said person’s mine.
Andy Denzler replicates the paused VHS effect through paintings, these twisted subjects illustrate a idea of being broken apart. In comparison to Andrew Huang’s Polychromatic videos, Andy is much more Monotone in portraiture and demonstrates a bold symbol of isolation in his imagery.
Kinga Stempkowska – Further research into desolated subjects.
Krzysztof Wodiczko – Inspiration for using hand motions.
Reshoot focussing on hand movements, using rather fluid expressions inspired by Andrew Huang.
I have further developed my photos in the style of VHS still frames, the mixture of light and darker shading in the subject differentiates between the way we view a solipsist to how the solipsist views themselves. Darker lighting we can associate with the isolation we must feel knowing that they exist in this state of mental health, juxtaposing that is the lighter tones (coming from the point of view of the solipsist) they are quite happy living in this state of mind knowing that they are the centre of the universe.