CCA, Glasgow international 08, Glasgow

Director Francis McKee

Structure and piece for CCA. The two way corridor structure shown in the pictures is for a one-to-one mediatised performative installation and is designed as a site specific by making sense of the history of the place and people it is presented to. The work’s meaning is constructed together with the audience’s participation in it.  The interaction over a period of 3 days and the information recorded and played back. These will be between 12-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, allowing for 4 people per hour (booking organised accordingly). The environment is an mdf/wood structure. Two small corridors of 1 x 2 mts each (2 mts high), the partition in the middle would have to raised from the floor of a couple of centimeters to allow for cabling to go through. The two corridors are: one for myself and one for a member of the public. We were sited in front of a screen connected to a camera recording and playing back our own delayed mirror image. At times this was  interfered by selected footage about collapsing/rising buildings in Glasgow (National Library of Scotland and Scottish Screen Archive kindly provided video footage). During the dialogue with a member of public I asked questions such as: what is memory? what are you looking at now? and they overlapped aspects of the past with their experience of the present.

Technical. The following equipment were used: 2 video cameras (high definition minidv), 2 monitors, 2 video delay systems, 1 dvr, 1 video switch, 1 video splitter. Microphones to record to cameras.

installation view

still from video documentation (participant)

still from video footage (courtesy Scottish Screen Archive, Scottish National Library)

Context. The project is based on the material developed in Experiential, during the Creative Lab Residency at Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow in October-November 2006 (pics below), under the supervision of Francis McKee and Claire Jackson. Through it, I tested an initial idea of site specific structure for one-to-one video performance designed to allow artist and audience exchange through dialogue, while looking at each own live delayed video recording as well as historic footage. The initial design was tested by students and staff from the Glasgow School of Art and Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama – Contemporary Theatre Program. Some of the process was recorded and extracts published on the website. While in Glasgow, I researched into the Scottish Screen Archive and the People’s Palace Museum to find films of life in the Gorbals area of the city. The tenements housed a lot of immigrants at the turn of last century and were taken down in the 80’s. They now live in people’s memory through personal stories, but also through pictures, photos, films etc. The relationship between architecture and memory derives from my previous research, but now the personal aspect meets the social/historical one.

Open Studio, one-to-one test, Creative Lab 2006 CCA Glasgow

The project

The context for the work I undertaken is that of a multidisciplinary art practice led project, for which I considered the notion of liveness in mediatised performances and television/web broadcast as the context where the passing of time, experienced as a sort of continuous present, is the condition within which live art takes place. It postulated that continuous present can be constructed by perceiving reality as collapsed layers of its representations and of time (i.e.: memory, live documentation, including projections of broadcasted events and pre-recorded/archive material). I focused on the ontology and psychological meaning of sharing the moment during mediatised live events (artist and audience interchange), generating the so called performative self. My interest is in working with television and web material is in considering the transmission of information a vehicle and a non static repository of contemporary culture and memory continuously erased and replaced by the next big event. I worked on concepts of transmission/movement/shift, particularly now that the digital has become the normality, and explore issues of ‘migrations’, probably relating the 50’s and 60’s to recent events of problematic integration. As much as my research on ‘mnemonic present’ refers specifically on the concept of updating our memories in the present moment or recollection, I believe that the photographic/video image overlaps with our memories and influences the way we deal with our reality.


To set up audience/artist interactive experiments to experience the following in relation to mass media information:

1. The passing of time
2. self-awareness
3. being in the present moment
4. erasure and replacement



The work developed in the frame of a project then called Experiential[1],  which was centered around interests in: time in fruition of mediatised performances for construction of performative self; distinction between reality and forms of its representation due to our perception of time (subjective time, simultaneity and continuity, retention and re-memorisation[2]); the reception of archival material in relation to live video; self-awareness generated by use of forms of dystonia (unbalance), i.e., between sound and vision. The experimentation undertaken at the time with forms of gaps, scotoma (in the visual field), apnea (of breathing), amnesia (gap in memory), time-gap (transmission), is introduced to allow the audience to participate in the event because, just like a spot on a blank page, we/audience fill it in with our brain/life experience/imagination. Process which, if contextualised in relation to the Baudrillian concept of punctum and the perceptual Kaniza effect (a perceptual gap is where the eye goes to compensate for a loss): it enables me to define a strategy for the creative process in which the designed perceptual lacuna asks to be filled in by audiences.  These are adopted, implied and experienced in my work in relation to the condition within which they happen: in liveness as site for continuous present, where performance art and live installation interchange take place. I specifically use various digital technologies postulating that continuous present can be constructed by perceiving reality as collapsed layers of its representations and time (i.e.: memory, live documentation).

I argued that the audience’s fruition of the event is due to the element of gap, more recently time-gap introduced to interfere with the experience of the passing of time, thus activating a psychological response and overlapping with the perception of the actual.

[1], funded by York Saint John University and Arts Council of England, outcomes include Re-Moved, Glasgow international 08, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow; Apnea, Museum of Manchester, 2008, and Geomemos, Yorskshire Sculpture Park, April/September 2009.

[2] Bruno Vicario, Il Tempo, Mulino Ricerca, Roma, 2005.

(from Elena Cologni (2010) ‘That spot in the ‘moving picture’ is you, (perception in time-based art)’. in in Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through Practice in Performance  ed. John Freeman, Libri Publishing, London, 2010, pp. 83-107)


Related relevant events by the artist:

‘The Film As Document In Real Time’, ‘Making the Case: contextualising and documenting media practice as research’, 3rd Journal of Media Practice Symposium, University of Bristol 15th June 2007

Erasure And Replacement In The Present Moment Of Reception’, The Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG) of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), New Oreleans (USA), August 2007

‘Scotoma, A Gap Allowing For Closeness’, INTIMACY, Across Visceral and Digital Performance, Goldsmiths, LABAN,l The Albany, Home, London, 7-9 December 2007

‘Issues Of Time And Perception In Mnemonic Present’, Goldsmiths Digital Studio, Thursday Club, 6 March 2008

‘APNEA (Scotoma, Memory And History: To Live In The Present, Or A Way To Deal With Our Past)’performance at the Manchester Museum, 4 April 2008

further documentation

Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Glasgow international08, Scottich Screen Archives, Wysing Arts Centre, York Saint John’s University