Saturday, 3 December 2011

Unit 3: Environment - The Uncanny - Tableau Vivant

What is Tableau Vivant?

Figure 1: Artist Sarah Small

A fine art/performance/photographic/musical project that brings unlikely characters into the same space to explore implausible interaction. (Small: Unknown).
When considering the Uncanny one has to go beyond the scope of a brief as some things can only be conveyed in Imagery. The Uncanny is not about isolation but about the un-homely and the eerie (as much was pointed out to me yesterday). Our eyes portray a moment of visual freight when we see something that is right but something is wrong even if we cannot put our finger on it.

The term Tableau Vivant is French for living picture requiring a group of costumed actors theatrically lit as one would for a film or television show. Tableau Vivant is the bringing together of Unlikely settings & characters to create a production in the form of a still frame (photograph).

Figure 2: Artist Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson's work creates a feeling of disarray but each convey individual shards of a story. Why is this woman floating in the water of her apartment? Even though the picture is a still photograph it has a feeling that it is more then that.

Figure 3: Artist Anna Gaskell

Anna Gaskell is another good example of a cropped image in the middle of a life sized production. The image above is completely evocative leaving one wondering who's hair is in the scene and what is inside that archway. The way the image is lit is eerie when one considers that the light itself is not lighting the room.

Figure 4: Artist Jeff Wall

The work of Jeff Wall (above) is also very evocative building up the climax with a question but never quite delivering the answer. One cannot help but wonder what could happen next if it were to expand into another shot. Where is the girl going and why?

What these images teach of the Uncanny can contribute to a number of factors ranging from: cropping, colour, angle & even distance. The most definable trait is that the images have a story to tell but cannot possibly past the single still (Photograph/painting) rendering them incomplete with no questions to possibly answer.

The images by themselves are not enough one wants to know the story but that lack of story itself makes them uncanny. This is the same feeling we arrive at when watching films, television shows or even games that do not conclude properly – leaving us in suspense asking further questions.

To Conclude:

The Uncanny itself is confusing but it is the mere prescience of that confusion that scares us as it reaches us in the most homely of settings, creating the prescience of the un-homely.

Over & Out,

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