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Author Archives: mneucollins

Train
Train Video

I’ve got nothing to say, and I am saying it,
and that is poetry as I need it.
-John Cage.

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One minute and thirty seconds out of your life…

rain video still

Looking for Oil
3 minute video

I heard Barrett Whatten speak a few months ago, a presentation he called “Against Ekphrasis.” I have been trying to come to terms with this idea since then. Ekphrasis has many extended connotations and nuances of meaning, but its base definition denotes poetry or poetic writing that provokes highly visual imagery. “Against ekphrasis” is a stance that claims the concreteness of words on their own terms: the word “red,” for example, referring not to the color, but to the word. When you extend this idea to media other than words, it leads to an examination of the meaning inherent in the medium itself, stripping away all metaphor and symbolism. (And from here it is a small step to musing about the idea itself as a concrete entity, independent of any referrent – but I digress.)

Yet I pause and wonder if this is altogether possible. Can we ever perceive the medium as sole content independent of its cultural role? Is it possible, for example, to view a photograph, not as a cultural object but as a collection of captured light?

Being an intermedia artist, I am particularly interested in the conceptual boundaries between things. In an installation when you place objects in the same room, they become related. By being in the same perceptual space, there exists between the objects an intermedium, itself a third meaning. Likewise, images seen together cause us to create meanings in their relationships. Words placed in the same perceptual space as these images multiply this effect. Working against ekphrasis, questioning assumed references, stripping away and examining the layers of acquired cultural meaning, is an important deconstructive step in the conceptual processes of creating artwork – it pops you into a new point of view. What really interests me, however, is the step beyond this deconstructive process, when the pieces are reconstructed to create something else.

“Five” video

Contemporary African Cinema:The Emergence of an Independent Cinema in Nigeria


“The ability to picture oneself is a vital need. In fact, if a man were to live without the capacity of forging a picture of himself, he would have no aspirations, no desires, and no dreams of his own.

The same applies to a community, a society, and a people. A society daily subjected to foreign images eventually loses its identity and its capacity to forge its own identity.

The development of Africa implies, among other things, the production of its own images.”

 


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