Jeff Wall (1979) Picture for Women [A1/ office at night revisions]

— one of the references for exploring further what is contained in the material that formed the first assignment.

As my tutor points out: it is a retaking of Edouard Manet’s (1982) A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and its complex viewpoints. The multiplicity of the gaze is the one that my tutor picked up from the digital montages of the initial submission.

The Courtauld website points towards a series of themes: the bar as site for drinking and meeting prostitutes, described by a contemporary as ‘umixed joy’. The sternness of the central figures expression does not match that description (and also sits at odds with the bustle visible in the mirror behind her. Also: we, as viewer, stand in the place of a man depicted solely in reflection. That the reflection of his face and her back is skewed, shifted too far to the right, is one of the points for discussion.

Jeff Wall’s remaking of the bar scene moves the setting into either a classroom, a dance studio or another, not quite defined, space. Again, we can assume there is a mirror, through which we see the whole scene. In the dead centre of it, a large format camera. A woman to our left, a man, identified as Wall himself to the right, looking at the woman (or, perhaps more precisely, her back). We see it is nighttime: the window front in the back shows a dark outside, overhead are several bare light bulbs. The woman stands still, seems to look at herself in reflection (or indeed at us?), Walls seems to be suspended in a walking movement, is he holding something in his hand?

It is a place of activity, foremost: that of the making of a photograph; i.e. it is the workplace of a photographer (Wall), and still, what else is going here? Is she model? As women at that time in such a space would be. Knowing the origin in Manet’s painting, I realise that I am asking myself too as to what the sexual relationship between the two are. Is there one? Is my wondering intended?

Campany, in the short video clip about the book he published on this single work also relates Wall’s work to Hitchcock’s voyeurism, and outlines the circumstance that this was a large-scale back-lit gallery installation, not a photograph as print. Also: a single work, not a series or a body of work.

[I have ordered the book and will take a closer read of this, as I realise that the Office at Night will remain an ongoing project beyond the remits of this module and assignment



Critical Essay: networked image and boundaries between public/private in the work of feminist practitioners

Attached is the critical essay for Assignment 3. The question investigated is a slightly re-focused one to the one originally discussed back in Spring:.

How does the networked image in contemporary visual culture shape the boundaries between public and private? Discuss, notably with reference to earlier performative and analogue works by feminist practitioners.


Link to the PDF: Critical Essay 15 November_web

The narrowing in focus to feminist practitioners who particular worked within analogue means that I am somewhat focusing also on the transition and difference between analogue/networked and am with the main part of the essay tracing existing practices either temporally before networked images or concurrent ones which continue working in analogue form.

The artists I have focused on are Chantal Akerman, Nan Goldin and Sophie Calle, while Trish Morrissey’s work serves as an opening towards the substantive debate. All artist are contemporary with works produced from the 1960s onwards (Chantal Akerman died in late 2015).

This narrowing of focus, or rather: the inclusion of analogue practices in some sense also mirros my own interests and pursuits which from Spring onwards have almost exclusively consisted, in terms of image production, of shooting in film (MF/Bronica and 35mm/Voigtlander), which are then scanned and post-processed digitally.

The essay investigates the boundary constructions in place between public and private and how the artists explored these (often by means of transgression). It is from these boundary considerations that I then enquire into changes taking place in the context of networked image practices. These changes are considered in relation to author/subject/viewer – I call this the relational triangle of the image. I found it a useful heuristic device for my own thinking but also feel I want to investigate a bit further on how that relationship has been discussed and conceptually understood in media studies.

I realise that I tried to conduct some primary research within/alongside this essay: by investigating the artists in detail but also by pursuing a series of images that investigate boundary construction within environmental photography. In this, the limits of the essay seem paramount (in word count and scope), and I realise that I am used to writing far longer research pieces than this essay, which also means that the scope of what I tried to address is too wide. Practically, it leaves the considerations around the networked image practices in shorthand and alluded to rather than actually investigated. I decided to leave this in this form as it presents a useful piece of writing for my own purposes and will be able to act as a bridge/entrance into the final project of the course, where some of the notes around networked image practices will be spelled out and investigated further.




moving image repository

… starting a collection of short animations that interest me (and possibly the ways how they circulate, can be traced to sources)


  1. deer woman bird (just)

Search for origin:

earliest I can find it is 15 Jan 2012 smile emoticon…

similar images, search by timeline

not clear if this is the animator (ambiguous auto translate):…/to-jsem-z-toho-jelen/

and there’s plenty of muybridge plates of women undressing; and a deer cycle…

>> I mistook it to be a 1920s piece: the aesthetics and the subject matter placed it for me in a surrealist past. I find it incredibly joyful and irreverent: a day is good when it starts like this (though I am uncertain what this ‘this’ actually is).


2. woman with gloves


search discovers it to be Eva Green in The Dreamers (Innocents), Dir, Bernardo Bertolucci 2003

>> this sits entirely elsewhere to (1) in relation to author – object (not subject) – viewer. The short looping makes it appear relentless. So, is she statue or agent? I am frequently unsettled by the audacity (?) to make me imagine she is without arms. And curiously, by having seen the film sequence, of course that impression would sit entirely different: I would know by then that this woman has two arms. Here, in this GIF that question is the opening gambit – or possibly it is: look at the breasts, look at the arms, look at the breasts, no look at the arms. So there is a competition of attention going on. After a while I find myself wanting to unravel the illusion, again and again.


3.  desk turning

The perfect table flip; a source from one year ago:

this one takes the repeat into a different direction: somehow ‘release’ is my emotional response and it gets perpetuated. I think it may be because the closing sequence is him sitting down and the desk top is rearranged: neat, orderly… so, the flipping the mess of the desk over does result in an ordered (not just empty) desk, the key items: lamp, laptop, phone, mug remaining on the table during the flip; so, it’s digital throughout; I suspect the room is also painted in and I like how the shadows work in the corridor.


4. Moving around the house. Again and again (FB feed 28/1/2016)

no further info yet: but again: endlessly intrigued by the repetition; this works with a similar complexity to Tango: it takes some while figuring out where the loop is.