The Language of Place: Representation, In-betweeness and Temporality

Decombres from Dean Keep on Vimeo.

A clear direction has emerged with the Phd project, with the theory and the practice coming together to explore key areas of investigation. I have thought about the inclusion of the heritage media tools (e.g.; pinhole, film, camera obscura) and the use of archival media to interrogate ideas around the representation of place. I recently made a short film “Decombre’ (see above) to explore the relationship between place and ‘auratic charge’, and how this relationship might be communicated through the use of visual media.

The key theorists I use here are Barthes and Benjamin, with particular reference to Benjamin’s concept of ‘aura’, amnd Barthes’ ‘studium’ and ‘punctum’. Whereas these above-mentioned theorists provide some insight into the construction and reception of the photographic image, I am also interested in the idea of in-betweeness, the space that exists somewhere in the middle of ‘before and after’,’ here and there’, etc. The act of pressing the camera shutter freezes a trace of the physical moment onto film and/or digital sensor to create a visual rendering of the subject. In the case of the Camera Obscura, one might argue that such a moment remains open, there is no fixing of the image but rather an in-betweeness whereby the moment is inverted yet continues to operate as a living image.

Canberra Obscura (video footage captured inside a Camera Obscura) from Dean Keep on Vimeo.

The act of walking inside the camera (Camera Obscura) makes us aware of the mediation of the world outside, reminding us of both the photographic process and the potential of photographic images to act as potent visual signifiers capable of conveying a wide range of information. But how does inhabiting the camera affect our relationship with time and place? Are we situated in a space that exists somewhere between the ‘before and after’? Are we more acutely aware of the passing of time as we inhabit the Camera Obscura?  How can photography shape our understanding of place?

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~ by Dean on October 7, 2014.

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