I have now shown these three short videos to two different groups in an attempt to gain feedback and critique and my thoughts on those outings can be summarized as follows:
I was really pleased that for both shows the audience were quiet and interested, I appreciate that none of the videos are long – around a minute each – but nevertheless they seemed to capture the viewer’s attention. On the second showing I was asked to replay all the videos for another viewing, again with apparent keen interest.
It is difficult to articulate the responses, but what I did discern was that the lack of context seemed to be an issue, even if the context was supplied immediately post showing. I think that I should have provided a short introduction, although I don’t feel ready yet to purposely situate them, or the work, in a specific place or investigation. I think that my ideas are still in flux. However the feedback from both groups was remarkably similar and can be summarized as thus:
The use of ‘voiced text’ worked better when it held greater ambiguity and that the text which referenced a child was less so. I was somewhat surprised with this as I was inspired to some extent by Gillian Wearing’s ‘mask’ work wear texts were repeated by people in masks, thereby hiding their identity, relaying quite intimate texts about their personal lives – secrets in particular. This difference has intrigued me and I will go back into the recordings of my mother and search for other ambiguous texts to work with.
I was hopeful to have interest shown in the visual imagery and both audiences remarked on the ‘synaptic’ looking roots/branches apparently emanating from the water. I was previously concerned that those particular images was be too directive, but seemingly not.
I had one set of photographs with a ‘known’ visual artifice purposefully left on the image – that of a strong colour cast. I had this idea both from Jo Spence’s “last Project” work and Bertien van Manen’s work “Beyond Maps and Atlases”. However this seemed to drive a conversation on sorting out technical difficulties rather than a conversation on what effect that aesthetic provided to the narrative. I need to review that idea.
Both sets of viewers said something about the ‘voices’ heard on the videos and a common comment was how they were all “of a certain age” and that maybe a younger, perhaps childlike, voice might offer an opportunity. This is definitely something I want to explore. I am still very hopeful that I am developing something with this work, though quite what it is just yet I am not yet able to say!