'Raglan Road' - Two separate screenings

The initial idea for 'Raglan Road' came in my sleep when I was away from my family working over in Switzerland. I had a clear image of an armchair with a television for a head, on which my Grandad's head was singing the Irish poem / folk song 'Raglan Road.' When I went round to film my Grandad he showed me a VCR recording of Luke Kelly singing the same song so I filmed that too. Once I had the two pieces of footage I knew they had to be shown together as a synced duet on separate screens. 

With my Grandad singing in the armchair I imagined his set up at home and wanted Luke Kelly on a television opposite the armchair. A man sitting in his home looking back at another man from the same era singing at a different time. In an early group tutorial Edwina suggested trying it first without the armchair set up and just having two monitors showing the separate videos facing one another on the floor. I went on to try this in CoCo's room and I was surprised at how much I liked its simplicity. It was also quite interesting (due to a technical error) when the videos were singing out of sync. 

I then went on to try the initial armchair idea in CoCo's room and I was also really pleased with it, I found that there was a lot of character there and a clearer human presence. 

What I like about the piece is that its quite adaptable, I'm happy to leave it open ended and allow the exhibiting space to determine the placement and screening. This piece has also directly influenced the Armchair Installation piece I'm currently working on and moved my work into the realms of domestic objects. 

Using old television monitors - 'WSM', Candice Breitz and Armchair installation 

With 'WSM' and the Armchair Installation, where human faces are being shown via video, the old television monitor is my preferred screening choice. Firstly, they are closer to a heads size, so when the screen shows the features of the face the television set automatically frames that face and imitates the head shape. For the Corridor Show I used an old wall mount to present the screen and this also fed into the human face / body theme, for me it resembled a neck and the neck (wall mount) stretched out from the wall, much like the stretched neck of a weightlifter as he lifts. For the Armchair Installation the old monitors are a necessary choice practically because they perch snugly on the armchairs and then the armchair becomes the 'body' and the 'neck' whilst the television becomes the 'head' sitting between the 'shoulders' of the chair. 

In Candice Breitz' installation piece 'Diorama' (image shown on the right) nine monitors were placed in accordance to 'Dallas' the long-running American TV series. For the piece Breitz extracted and edited footage from cliffhanger episodes into 9 video loops, each one dedicated to a main character. By using the television monitors she is referencing the technological context of the show and highlighting the domesticity of the 'suburban' traumas faced in the show. The viewer is never offered relief of narrative development or closure (much like WSM) and is left to ponder their personal memories and social memories "shared as consumers of the global media."

With the old television monitors I also think they carry with them a lot of character, although they don't show the video piece in 'High Definition' theres a sense of nostalgia in their grainy colour balance and their chunky boxes. I have clear memories of sitting in the backroom with my sister watching videos on this particular screen (look right) so they're not only personally nostalgic but they also refer back to the early stages of television technology. It represents a time when we were less saturated with fast-moving images (the internet, YouTube, Smart Phones, Instagram, Tinder) and when things were a bit simpler with less information and only four channels to choose from. I'm happy to reference a time like this in the work.   

More flexibility with compilation videos  

I feel much less restricted in terms of screening the compilation videos (i.e GROUNDED). When showing my old compilation video PRIMAL SCREM [2015] at the What Happens to Us exhibition I was happy with it being projected and experienced on a much larger scale. I have previously shown these videos amongst inflatable installations prior to starting the course (e.g in an inflatable room and through an inflatable tunnel) so there is much more opportunity to collaborate with the space. I do like this less restricted way of working with video, by changing its size, angle and positioning in the room you can potentially manipulate the movements of the viewer. For example when I first started editing 'GROUNDED' I was looking at showing it as part of an interactive installation that brought the viewers feet off the ground. One way was to have the viewer sitting in giant hanging baby bouncers and another way was to show it on the ceiling and have a Pipilotti Rist style viewing floor set up. 

For the 'Life in a Shoebox' show in April I plan to show 'GROUNDED' on an IPad hidden at the back of the box. I feel that having it at this smaller scale and forcing the viewer to peer into the box to see the flying participants would have just as strong an effect as it would projected large. Perhaps screening it this way will bring about a set of new questions. These compilation videos may never be complete, the screenings may become endless and I cherish this prospect.  

© 2020 copyright Rosie McGinn. All rights reserved. 
 

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