The Ambassadors

This blog is being highjacked by a few thoughts that at first didn’t seem strictly relevant to Echo and Narcissus, but I now think they really are.   When I went to Wirad with the pilot, it was very well received, partly because not many other people showed work.  What they mostly did was talk theory.   Although this was coherent, it wasn’t perhaps enjoyable, or maybe even relevant to people’s experience of art.  This is because art is a synthesising experience, and I believe that the practise as research of art, or perhaps of film, should also be a synthesising process.  It’s no use taking some small element of film and trying to analyse it through practice if it can be analysed through a theoretical framework.  For example, the use of sound has been analysed endlessly through looking at the variety of ways it has been used.  If a practice work is going to work, then it has to be used differently, and for something.  Meaning is important, and that meaning has to have a form.

I therefore think that art as a methodology is also vital, we mustn’t piggy back on other methodologies, such as the humanities or social sciences.  Yes, it is fine to use the humanities or social sciences as sources for adaptation, and this is good research led practice, but I need to do practice led research, as a film maker in order to have good enough practice.   The practice does have to be ground breaking, it also has to be historicised and contextualised.  I can’t just put it out there to stand up for itself, but the method for doing it has to be a complex multifaceted one.

The analogy I came up with doesn’t really work, but let’s think about Holbein’s picture of the Ambassadors.   He does various things, he uses the new sciences, lens based technology, he puts in hidden codes about Thomas More, for example, and plays with perspective, but this is all in service of stuff about mortality.  Further although he is not doing practice as research as it wasn’t invented, he did have to please all sorts of patrons, just as we do, and this was no mean feat.  Originally, I wanted to write a spoof about this, because certainly Holbein was not responding to one particular theory, eg. Lacan’s about the gaze, or putting in some crass response to the spectator, but a highly artistic and polysemic one and this is what makes the work come together, as well as the various coincidences of the time.  Since film is about coincidence and I have argued, trauma, I think this argues well.  – a bit truncated, but I’ll expand later.