What a busy day and thanks to everyone who brought their enthusiasm and eagerness to help make this short video piece. The idea behind this interaction was to add to the narrative and concept behind Guy Sherwin’s self-portrait, short film called, “Portrait of Parents”. Using a 16mm film camera he filmed in 1978, both his mother and father for the duration of the 16mm roll of film, approx 3 and half minutes. It’s considered to be a self-portrait as Sherwin can be seen reflected in the mirror shown in the center of the movie, with his parents situated, one on each side of the mirror. The DV we produced at the exhibition on Saturday is in keeping with the time scale being of similar duration. Participants were filmed for about 30 seconds and during this period they watched closely and interacted with myself and discussed the complexity of the ideas behind Sherwin’s film.

The continuous winding motion of Sherwin operating his camera created a bouncing type of movement, so the screen appears to be bobbling up and down. Some participants moved in response to this, some felt a sort of sickness motion. The film instigated a physical movement in many watchers when they were encouraged to immerse themselves fully. Trying to forget that I was filming and the other gallery goers were watching us filming, was a challenging exercise for some. Encouragement was offered to those particpant’s who wanted to overcome shyness and help was provided to find strategies to help distance themselves from the distractions . Others unpicked the concept and found it interesting to include themselves within the extended narrative. We discussed the position of the viewer in this movie and whether the participants of our movie, felt more or less relaxed than Sherwin’s mother and father. Most thought that because of our greater familiarity with the process of being filmed, the nervousness and obvious tension – although the parents seemed to enjoy the process – would be less apparent. The concensus was however, that the participants in our movie still had to make a concerted effort to ignore the process of being filmed and relax into the viewing process.

In essence, each participant was observing Guy Sherwin and his parents whilst Sherwin was observing himself. In turn whilst filming, I was observing all the viewers throughout their own viewing process. Confused? There’s more! When viewed online – as you are now – one then extends the concept even further by viewing this new film, collaboratively made. Perhaps someone might like to video themselves viewing themselves in the video we made on the computer and then whoooaaaa………..

For my next session participants will not only be the viewers/actors but the producer as well. Couples, friends and families will be encouraged to take the position of both camera operator and subject.

Next interaction dates are 26th February and 26th March.

Posted by Ryan Coleman on Tuesday 8 February 2011