Warning. Cloning this item will not retain its parent-child relationship.
Daniel Crooks: Editing Suite Aesthetics
Save As ... ?
Daniel Crooks's intriguing 'timeslice' videos summon contradictory forces: are these fractal visions of a digital hyperreal or the abstraction of an older modernity, updated? Their most obvious roots lie in the late nineteenth century, in the celebrated chrono-photographic motion studies of Etienne-Jules Marey (which complicated Duchamp's flirtation with cubism). But they also call to mind the warped poetry of Man Ray's 'rayograms'; the futurism of Boccioni, or Giacomo Balla; or a real-time collision between the formal meditations of Frank Stella and the sensuous wipings of Gerhard Richter. Perhaps a more fitting ancestry would be the sinuous, elongated figures of mannerism. It, too, grew out of a perfected naturalism - that of the High Renaissance - which, having actualised the world through technologies of seeing (such as Alberti's perspective), could not help but de-nature and distort this reality, readmitting the imperfections of human touch. Similarly, photomedia long strove to capture reality - from documentary film and photography, to cinéma verité, or satellite surveillance - but digital video is not content with hyperreality, not prepared simply to rehash or endlessly simulate reality. It, too, is seduced into re-liquidating the perceived world; into interfering with the hyperreal ideal.
While control over hardware was the key to industrial power, postindustrial power controls software. Twenty years before the boom of digital photography, German media theorist Vilém Flusser realised that the camera's significance lay not in its faithful rendering of the world, but in the 'program' by which it processed the world - as information. Flusser's analysis holds a fortiori for digital imaging, and Crooks's work illustrates this: it reflects the aesthetics of the digital editing suite, the desktop environments of media authoring programs. This is not some secret, 'insider' knowledge - now standard issue with most personal computers; these are the popular tools of do-it-yourself media-making, tools fast becoming as natural to us as the menus of Microsoft Word, the buttons of our browsers. It follows that our reading of images should be informed not only by our familiarity with digital effects, but by first-hand knowledge of these interfaces of production. What binds them together, visually, is that they spatialise time, on a metric x-axis that can be traversed, carved up, zoomed in on. The y-axis, meanwhile, is given to the accumulation of digital assets, media tracks that are aligned or 'sequenced'.
How do you make time tangible in visual terms? Give it a spatial language. This plastic temporality is unique to digital video, as distinct from film, where the physical constraints of editing mean that time, rather than finding spatial expression, still tends to index duration. Poetic and painterly, yet measured, Crooks's 'timeslice' sequences unite the gestural and compositional sense of the animator with analytic forms of representation, the 'graphic' with the 'graphical'. They engage a tension between the fluidity of analogue motion and the discontinuity of the digital. Graphing, scanning, sampling - this is how the digital approximates analogue form. But far from compounding the rigidity of rational perspective, these functions can still be harnessed for organic and poetic creation.
View Source Code
In Static No. 9 (a small section of something larger), 2005, Crooks brings formal concerns to the fore by evacuating the ground. This emptiness permits more depth and contrast, making room for both time and space to be registered spatially. The cobblestones of the flâneur's industrial city give way to off-white, corporate paving, the Cartesian field of postmodern public space. The ideal of single-point perspective merges with the fixed-point, machinic vision of surveillance, the webcam or the scanner. Instead of faces in the crowd, we scan pedestrians' legs, billowing and twisting past like the twin streamers of a double helix, like motile DNA - the ultimate metaphor for a world-become-code, spliced here into older protocols of representation. The result is scintillating, like the spokes of some giant social bicycle that keeps the post-industrial populace moving. This is a poetics proper to the medium of life, and to a life mediated.
[Written by David Teh. Excerpt from Daniel Crooks: a small section of something larger exhibition catalogue]Description
Still photograph composed of sequential views.CollectionNew Gallery AcquisitionsAgencyCoffs Harbour Regional Gallery