Allyson Packer & Jesee Fisher

Proscenium

 

ABSTRACT 

Proscenium is a video that engages viewings in exploring the collapse of "real" and virtual space. The 10-minute video is designed to be experiential: replicating the appearance of a computer desktop with simultaneous clips playing in multiple windows, it triggers the viewer’s perceptual and physical responses by simulating the experience of being on one’s computer while it is being controlled by someone else. At a time when our culture is experiencing a rapid virtualization of our relationships to institutions, workplaces, and each other, we have also seen the rise of an attendant myth that our bodies and physical location are less relevant than ever before. Proscenium addresses this myth by using formal filmmaking techniques to reawaken the viewer's physical awareness and creating a space for inquiry around the importance of embodied experience in interpreting and producing our relationship to virtual space.

These techniques are used to frame footage shot in the empty office plazas of Dallas, Texas in the fall of 2020, which is then layered with clips from Dziga Vertov’s kaleidoscopic silent film “Man With a Movie Camera,” which represents fast-paced urban life in 1920s Kiev. Drawing from film history, post-modern architecture, and contemporary virtual spaces, the video produces a dense enveloping experience that takes inspiration from Vertov’s kaleidoscopic filmmaking techniques and uses similar techniques to emphasize the illusions of contemporary virtual spaces. As the 10-minute video unfolds over five distinct movements, it gradually draws the viewer into a hypnotic narrative, where their sense of two- and three-dimensional space become confused and the typical rules of reality are defied.

KEYWORDS

Video Art, Space, Virtual Worlds

MODALITY

VIDEO CREATION

SECTION

SPACES - DEVICES

BIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCE

Allyson Packer is an artist and professor at the University of North Texas whose interdisciplinary work investigates the role of embodied experience in an increasingly virtual world. She is represented by birds + richard gallery in Berlin. Jesse Fisher is an independent filmmaker and co-founder of the Chimera Strategy, a media agency that makes the progressive agenda more persuasive to voters. In 2017, he directed, produced and edited the award-winning documentary Una Nueva Tierra.