Kenyon Class of ’15, Studio Art major, Italian minor
Spending hours watching television and movies has become a common occurrence in society. With today’s technology, we have easy access to stream almost anything to our televisions or computers. I am not alone in reacting to this endless supply by trying to consume as much as possible by binge-watching a TV show or watching a movie multiple times until something else catches my attention. Despite my obsessing and giving great importance to each show or film that I watch, eventually I find something new and forget most of the details of what I have seen in the past. After some time, I remember only important details while everything else fades and mixes into my memory.
In order to show this visually, I take long-exposure photographs of films and shows I have watched, and many other people have seen as well. The camera takes in all the information for 15-30 seconds, but in the final image, there are only blurred figures, vague objects, and a mixing of colors. I light the print from behind in order to give it a glow similar to a television screen, but it will never be as perfect at the actual video is on a screen just as my memories will never be as perfect as the videos.
For the photographs, I choose popular shows and movies from the past few decades with a focus on ones that have a large cult following, have won awards, or have been important to me so that almost every person will be able to identify and relate to at least one of the images. Since the photos are about loss of details in memory, I find important or characteristic parts to capture so that one or two clear details can make the scene recognizable.
In addition to the visual component of the movies and TV shows, the audio is also important to the viewer to understand what they are watching. We have strong connections to the films and shows we watch through sounds whether it be a memorable song, an iconic line, an actor’s voice, or the theme song of a show. I take audio clips from the same parts in the film or from the same episodes of the shows as the photographs, cut them into small clips, and then reassemble them. The assembled audio and the photos have a similar overlapping quality with some moments more clear than others.
The scale and installation in the space emphasizes both the time spent watching and quantity of films and shows watched. The photographs are large enough to see details but small enough to seem like a collection of items on a shelf. The single line of images resembles a film strip or a timeline that wraps around the walls to visually draw out the time that is condensed within the photos and to create a more enveloping presentation that shows that this is not a finished habit, but a continuing one.
–Emily Witosky, ‘15