As before, this post is to to document what transpired over the day, but in a wider sort of context I want to follow this up with my overall thoughts and impressions of the thing as a whole. I'm going to leave that for a week or two though, and let myself settle back to normality and take time to chew it all over.
Day five then. Given the re-jigging of our group and process after the first three days, this day began as a really natural extension and continuation of what we've been up to the day before. There had been glimmers of ideas that had started to form into more coherent offerings, and from the outset on this day we worked quite well as a group to experiment with things in a bit more of a focused way.
I really enjoyed the first few hours - the looping camera projection thing we'd been experimenting with was fired back up, but as before I tried to remain a bit hands-off with it, choosing instead to explore the space and imagery it was generating but from in front of the camera rather than behind it.
During this initial burst we also aimed to create footage from the process, and re-loop it back into the work over the day - some of the most satisfying things I saw people do with the projector specifically was putting previously-shot footage back into it, ghosting images of ourselves in the past over the people in the present. Simple thing but really fun to work with, especially as it layered up. To add to this, we also experimented a lot in terms of trying to generate textures from physical objects and movements, the most successful of which was when we shot a lot of really close-range footage of our hands experimenting with very warm stringy clay/dough. These were then layered up over live feeds and onto the space/performers, and added a horrifically gory-looking but really satisfying texture to everything.
Towards the afternoon my energy levels dropped off, and it felt like the same was true of a lot of people in the space. By this point we were five intense days in (something like thirty hours) and the combination of constant light contrast, sound, and general pressure had started to weigh on us a bit. Or certainly I felt that way anyway. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it was an interesting thing to observe and experience though.
My final tangible push was to get quite physical with the video work - the feedback loop and footage we put together ended up running on it's own for hours and hours untouched (and crashed my machine in the end due to it getting too hot), which was quite interesting as it allowed the space in front of it to visibly change and shift as time went on. I spent a long while painting directly onto the walls of the projection surface with a couple of others, exploring how the marks being made took time to echo down the feedback chain, which I found both mechanically and aesthetically very pleasing!
The day ended with slightly less of a bang than I anticipated. I envisaged a chaotic final meltdown moment but in the end it never came, I think mostly as at this point we were all so fucking drained. We'd gotten to a reasonably calm but quite dark place, but to be honest I was absolutely spent, and didn't get much meaningful done in the last few hours. Instead I used the time to grab some final photos - this time directly focusing on the artists rather than the space or the work. I grabbed a couple of really lucky long exposure shots of people surrounded by lights, which I'm really happy with (none of these are in this post, I still need to pull everything off the camera)
Despite the exhaustion, we wrapped up, cleared up, scrubbed up and went for an extremely well earned round of food and drinks. All smiles, if weary ones. I felt really, really good. And I still feel really good, about this and everything. The gallery was returned to well-lit and clear, almost too quickly to believe.
I'm saving my full thoughts for later, but I'll finish with this for now: PARADOXPARADOX has been absolutely one of the most difficult, intense, challenging weeks I've ever had. And my outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive. I didn't expect for any of this to have had such a profound effect on me, my practice, my confidence, or my plans for everything - but it absolutely has. It's been unreal, truly. There's some more photos below, and my final question for now:
Where do I go from here?