My relationship to new media is one predicated on imperfection, specifically, the importance of imperfection in a digital culture driven by the desire for seamlessness and unquestioned functionality.
By emulating older, pre-cinematic devices such as the penny arcade in “Hot Circuit” and the Magic Lantern in “On the Nature of Fire”, I want to draw attention to the phenomenological history of such machines, in order to point to how we engage with current mobile technologies. Where has the evolution of these machines left us as spectators? Do we engage with mobile technology with the same awe that viewers of the first film, the first lightbulb, photograph or stereoscope did? And if not, is it the machines themselves or the cultural uses of them that have removed the wonder from contemporary technology?
My videos centre around differing virtualities and the apparatuses used to engage with them, whether through video cameras and editing software or cardboard, paper and glue. I make all of the scenery, props and even some characters by hand, involving myself in each project in a physical capacity that working purely behind the video camera would otherwise remove.
Contrasting the layered physicality of the worlds I create with that of the actor/s within those worlds, I raise questions about which forms are more or less valid as representations of something ‘real’ and use video as a tool that simultaneously proves and disproves what, as viewers, we are looking at on screen; while maintaining the completeness of the universes I produce, video also documents their failures.
Whether utilizing fantastical beasts such as the mythology of the Unicorn, or playing off the cold war myth of nuclear perfection (technological or social), I manipulate the stories being told in the same way I control the form of each piece; by puppeteering a series of symbols that draw attention to their own self-conscious construction. Using historical or mythical structures as frameworks to build my pieces, I allow the clichéd stylisation of time periods and well-worn narrative tropes to reveal the gaps within popular cultural fictions.
In a time of democratized cinematic tools, I see my role as one of a craftsperson who by implicitly understanding the properties of the materials she works with, manipulates and reforms engagement with her work through the transmogrification of rudimentary components; in my universes, a piece of cardboard becomes a metal box, or a horse. Rather than wow-ing an audience with technical effects applied in post-production, my skill lies in the design and construction of a series of “live” special effects. These effects operate and are dependant on my real time orchestration of the machinery and physics of the theatres I create so that a paper puppet comes to life to seduce a young man, or a baby is born and un-born repeatedly through the pulling of two pieces of string.
Inevitably however, the rich and labour intensive content of my work is always consumed by the video camera, leaving no physical trace of its production. Within this paradox is where my work is activated.