Surreal Photography

I have explored the concept of surrealism further by researching some surreal photography pieces. Here are some pieces that stood out most to me, I will analyse what I like about each one and relate them to my idea for my interactive piece.

photo surrealThis piece is by Ronen Goldman, it features a man obstructing apples that are flying towards him with an open umbrella. Goldman turns fantasies into works of art – ‘photo-dreams’. This piece was in fact inspired by Magrittes’ paintings, after Goldman went and visited the Magritte Museum in Belgium. I like the simplicity of this idea, and it has highlighted to me how simple ideas can be just as effective. It has quite a humorous effect and is very eye catching. The surreal element of the addition of the flying apples really helps to make viewers look deeper into the image, in order to understand what it being represented.

surreal

This piece is by Slinkachu, it stood out to me as it is very unique and unusual. It features miniature people having a ‘Tug Of War’ with a £10 note. The use of tiny people in his photography really helps to blur the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, hence show surrealism. This idea is again quite simple, but it has a strong effect, of which engages viewers deeper into his street photography. Slinachu uses everyday objects that are found in the streets and incorporates tiny people to create imagined scenes/stories, for example, skating on orange peel, shooting a bee etc.

EgarementsThis piece is by Cerise Doucède, her photography features flying objects that relate to the scene.Cerise says in her photography, ‘The imagination takes precedence over reality, the invisible becomes visible.’ In this piece, the couple are having breakfast in bed and there are various flying plates, mugs, cutlery and foods. I really like her photography as again it is very unique and interesting. It relates really well to my piece as likewise, I plan to have flying objects. The surreal element of the flying objects undoubtedly make the piece more intriguing and engaging.

From looking at surreal photography, it has really helped to inspire me for my piece. It has given me more ideas as to the objects that I could include in my piece. From looking at Ronen Goldman’s photography, I could incorporate animals or foods as the gravitating object in my piece. From looking at Slinkachu, I could include tiny people in my piece, which also relates back to Margrittes surreal artwork. I could have the people carrying out different activities, whether it be different sports or different activities relating to the media school (on laptop/filming/radio presenting). Finally, by looking at Cerise Doucède, I could relate the falling objects to the public space and have objects such as phones, laptops, cameras etc, or could relate the objects specifically to Digital Media Design and have objects the relate to the course, such as mac and adobe icons. By exploring surreal photography, it has made me realise more about how I could use surrealism in my piece. I have learnt that the piece doesn’t need to be highly complex as these pieces all show how simple ideas/concepts can be very interesting and engaging. Each piece is very unusual and unique, of which I want my piece to be. This will hopefully help it to stand out in the public space and encourage users to explore deeper into the piece and interact with it.

References:

Goldman, R, 2014. Ronen Goldman [online]. Available from: http://www.ronengoldman.com/?gallery=surrealistic-pillow-project-gallery [Accessed 9 Dec].

Slinkachu, 2014. Slinkachu [online]. Available from: http://slinkachu.com/home [Accessed 9 Dec].

Doucède, C, 2013. Cerise D [online]. Available from: http://cerisedoucede.fr/portfolio/egarements-4/ [Accessed 9 Dec].

Surrealism – History, Influences and Characteristics

The surrealist art movement emerged in the 1920’s; it is believed to have stemmed from the Dada art movement. ‘The idea of the Dada movement was to go against traditional art and all for which it stood’ (arthistoryarchive 2014).

Dada: ABCD by Raoul Hausmann (1920)

hausmann-3Cubism: Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso (1937)

PabloPicasso-Weeping-Woman-with-Handkerchief-1937

Expressionism: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh (1889)

van-gogh-vincent-starry-nightSurrealist artists use elements and techniques inspired from Dada, Cubism and Expressionism (examples shown above). This shows the importance of looking at history, of which I have studied for my theory module, as it allows exploration into different art movement, how they began, its influences and evolvement over time. Some of the key characteristics of surrealist art are:

-juxtaposition of objects that would not normally be together
-repetition of objects
-varied object scaling
-simple titles of work

Surrealism: Golconda by Rene Margritte (1953)

golconda

Surrealism is shaped by emerging theories on our perception of reality, it relates to the blurring distinctions of the conscious (reality) and unconscious mind (dreams). Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis was a key figure, his ideas and theories were strongly embraced by surrealists. His work, titled The Interpretation of Dreams Freud's Iceberg 2(1900),

‘strongly influenced the movement of Surrealism, providing a theoretical basis to unravel the unconscious and thus free the imagination through their work’ (Manoeuvresto 2012).

My interactive piece can relate to surrealism as it features some of the key characteristics listed above. The juxtaposition of the falling shapes blurs users perception of reality, as they would usually just expect to see themselves captured on camera. The addition of the falling shapes is a surreal feature, of which the distinctions between the conscious and unconscious become blurred. The shapes are also repeated and are of various different sizes, another common characteristic of surrealist work.

I feel that it is important to explore the history of surrealism as it has helped to further my understanding of the concept. I have learnt more about the art movements of which influences surrealist work as well as further exploring Freudian theory. Next, I will go on to explore some surreal photography as at the moment I have only looked at artwork. I feel that by looking at some more existing surreal pieces, it can help inspire me for my piece and will allow me to analyse the concept further.

arthistoryarchive, 2014. The Origins Of Surrealism [online]. Available from: http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/surrealism/Origins-of-Surrealism.html [Accessed 3 December 2014].

Manoeuvresto, 2012. The Influence Of Sigmund Freud’s Theory Of Dreams On The Movement Of Surrealism [online]. Available from:http://manoeuvresto.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/influence-of-sigmund-freuds-theory-of.html %5BAccessed 3 December 2014].

Concept: Surrealism

Surrealism is the concept that my interactive piece will apply to. Surrealism is a 20th century movement that was shaped by emerging theories on our perception of reality. It is dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in dreams, which is most commonly done through the irrational juxtaposition of images. Rene Magritte is a famous surrealist artist…

‘much of the work created by Rene Magritte, takes everyday, normal objects, and he would simply rearrange the figures, and locations, forcing the viewer to take a deeper look at what was in front of them, and at what the image truly represented.’ (Renemagritte.org)

Here are two examples of Magrittes surreal artwork that stood out most to me:

Ren? Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964, Restored by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009  øðä îàâøéè, áðå ùì àãí, 1964, øñèåøöéä ò"é ùîòåï éðåáéõ, 2009-The Son of Man, 1946. This painting is a self-portrait that features an apple covering up his face. Magritte says

‘Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present’ (ReneMagritte.org).

This idea relates to the surrealist idea of the ‘real’ and ‘imagination’, as in this case we know that hidden behind the apple is his face, but what individual people imagine his face to look like behind the object may differ. Hence the viewers will experience conflictions between what is actually present and the hidden.

golconda-Golconda, 1953. This painting relates nicely to my idea as you have various men that look as if they are falling from the sky. The ‘raining men’ are positioned against a row of buildings and blue sky. The inclusion of the men encourages viewers to explore deeper into the painting in order to try interpret what is being presented. The juxtapositioning of the men blurs the boundaries between the ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’, as you would expect to see buildings and men in bowler hats but you don’t expect to see them floating/falling from the sky. This relates to my idea as I plan to have falling objects that users can interact with by obstructing them from falling. From looking at this painting, I have decided that I will experiment with different objects/figures that I could use and what would be best to create this surreal effect.

The concept of surrealism and the juxtaposition of objects/images relates to my idea as the user will be captured on the screen along with various falling objects. Likewise to Magrittes’ work, it makes the users more attentive as it encourages them to explore deeper into what is being represented on the screen. It also helps to appeal viewers in as the paintings are unusual compared to most artworks, which I believe makes them more unique and memorable. Linking this to my idea, I feel that users would typically expect to just see themselves being captured on camera, however, their perceptions of reality may become blurred due to the addition of the unexpected objects. The addition of the objects on the screen blurs this idea relating to the ‘real’ and ‘imagination’ and the fact it is interactive could in fact enhance this surreal idea. I feel that incorporating my piece to the concept of surrealism is a good way to engage users as it encourages them to explore the text deeper in order to fully understand what is being represented.

Carrying out previous requirements gathering on my target audience has made me realise the complexity of contemporary audiences and getting users to decode the concept of my piece (surrealism) may be challenging. As Hermes (2002, p.285) states:

‘the meaning of a text is always subject to negotiation.’

Some may decode the surreal concept, whereas others may decode other varied meanings and concepts from interacting with my piece. Liebes (2005, p.363) suggest that:

‘the dominant paradigm has shifted from audiences as users of texts to the process of reception, based on the idea that viewers are capable of creating a plurality of meanings, and allowing for the possibility of oppositional, or subversive decodings’

hypoanimContemporary audiences are more active consumers of texts, rather than the outdated idea of passive audiences, related to the hypodermic needle theory (1920s). Due to my target audience being mainly Media School students, I feel that a range of meanings and concepts may be decoded from my piece – dependant on many factors including the individuals experiences, course, level of interaction etc.

References:

Hermes, J, 2002. Active Audiences. In: The Media: An Introduction By Briggs And Cobley. 2ed, 282- 293. Harlow: Longman.

Liebes, T, 2005. Viewing and Reviewing the Audience: Fashions in Communication Research. In: Curran, J and Gurevitch, M eds. Mass Media and Society. 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 356-374.

Renemagritte.org, 2009. Rene Magritte And His Paintings [online]. Available from: http://www.renemagritte.org/ [Accessed 1 December 2014].

Renemagritte.org, 2009. The Son Of Man, 1946 By Rene Magritte [online]. Available from: http://www.renemagritte.org/the-son-of-man.jsp [Accessed 1 December 2014].