Expanding upon the influence of sight in previous posts I have been looking at how to include some aspect of the self as observation within my final piece whilst also staying connected to the idea of the eye (seeing) as a pivotal point within perception discussions. I wanted to be conscious of the self engaging with the dilemma of 'itself' and somehow construct that into the installation.
My self portrait will be a conclusion to the serious of posts made throughout the Fine Art module. All of the individual pieces are steps upon a path to try and put together a final coherent piece that will engage with a substantial number of the issues raised throughout my posts and readings of various writers, artists and philosophers.
I am increasingly looking at the idea of metamorphism as a desire to flee the lost self. It isn't however change that results in a new self but more change that alters an outer skin. I feel a crucial part for me in the final piece is that self awareness can act as a form of saviour from the prison of the lost self. A self that carries many of the burdens I have discussed throughout earlier posts. The eye within the final piece I feel must be a redemptive eye, one that offers the self through crucial observation its doorway to salvation. Without this element within the final piece I think ultimately the work would be too bleak.
One might put forward a case for no such thing as a self in the way it is traditionally understood as I have done but it is impossible to be wholly unsympathetic to my own plight given its the creative humanity within me that seeks and desires to ask such questions and to produce responses in the first place. I think to leave oneself via a self portrait occupying the space of Samuel Beckett's 'Unnamable' would be something I would want to avoid.
My film of the eye is two separate shots one with the eye closed and the other with the eye sporadically opening to gaze and then closing again. The screen is then split to show both aspects of the eye at the same time. I was influenced by Andre Breton who in the manifesto of surrealism wrote ' a man is cut in two by a window' that seemed to represent the partitioning of his own mind. Thus in a number of my video pieces for this project I have used that device of a window cut in two.
One eye indicates self awareness and the other indicates not perceiving as it is closed throughout, its only movement being a flickering as if the eye is showing REM sleep. This is a representation of perception as the dream and the naive realism spoken about in my discussion about the writing of Thomas Metzinger. If both eyes remained closed I think I couldn't have made this as part of the installation as there would be no self awareness within the final piece which for me as a self portrait is crucial. I couldn't postulate a number of theories and then suggest somehow in the final self portrait that I was not self aware or at least struggling to be so.
The colouration of the video is reflective of the chemistry of the eye in terms of the rods that are sensitive to certain wavelengths of light. I didn't include the red as well as I didn't want to suggest a complete seeing. I didn't want the final piece to present an answer but more a framework for further examination. I think leaving that aspect of one element within the eyes chemistry out suggests the impossibility of drawing complete conclusions about anything.
My intention is to have this playing on a monitor in the final piece and I am currently working through ideas as to how this happens.