Relative Proximity is a 15-minute four-channel audio-visual art-film that is projection-mapped onto a custom media surface. This artwork features five diverse autobiographical narratives that explore human proximity to nature and proximity to self. Audiences reveal their own ‘story’ via an in-exhibition camera that transmits real-time abstracted visual footage. Relative Proximity is a mashup of diverse lived experiences. Intimate stories are performed by a range of artists and are captured in audio-visual form by PluginHUMAN.
Relative Proximity explores intimacy and distance through five parallel narratives. Four visual narratives are projection-mapped and an audio narrative is woven into the original musical score. This artwork features a right-angled media surface that extends into the centre of the exhibition space. This provides 47 angled projection surfaces. When people move around the space, different visual stories are revealed and concealed, allowing audiences to physically explore their proximity to the narratives.
THE FIVE NARRATIVES
Brent Watkins: First Nations Dancer
This solo, self-choreographed 15-minute hip-hop-traditional fusion dance piece reveals Brent’s proximity to self, culture and nature. It’s captured on super 16mm black and white film in a seamless white studio. Ultra-close-up and mid-range shots deliver an uninterrupted physical form. Under the mentorship of Dr Andrea Rassell, PluginHUMAN extend their video-art practice, filming this dance in analogue on a Krasnogorsk-3. They capture moments, with heightened intentionality and provide a new medium for Brent’s performative practice.
Casper Plum: Young Trans Visual-Performance Artist
In this 15-minute solo performance-art piece, Casper looks directly to camera, knee deep in still sea waters, holding an ice-cream that slowly melts-bends-folds and drips away. His proximity to camera, in the close, medium and long-shots, reflects his proximity to self. An expanse of muted slate grey sky-water illuminates both the immensity and insignificance of individual existence within the context of wider natural forces. PluginHUMAN captures this performance on colour super 16mm, extending Casper’s analogue photography practice, and creating the first analogue moving image recording of his performance-art.
PluginHUMAN: Artist Duo
This 15-minute animation reveals the microscopic qualities of a local natural environment. This is a visceral embodiment of the charismatic drives of nature that is empathetically mediated by digital technology. PluginHUMAN collect local natural elements, place them under microscope, photograph them in 4K and animate the imagery using environmental data. Working under the mentorship of Dr Andrea Rassell, PluginHUMAN extend their photo-microscopy practice working for the first time with precise electron microscopy equipment.
A webcam, concealed in the front-centre of the exhibition’s media surface, enables audiences to ‘perform’ their own stories. Audiences instantly see themselves displayed across fractured sections of the exhibition’s projection surfaces. These visuals are abstracted in real-time, augmenting audience movements and creating a kaleidoscope of colours, patterns and shapes. When no-one is in-front of the camera, environment data generates real-time animations. This interactive video extends the technology developed by PluginHUMAN in their 2020 award-winning artwork [ i miss your touch ].
Coco Disco: Young Non-Binary Spoken-Word Musician
Coco’s 15-minute spoken-word audio performance is nested within an enveloping musical score that nurses the fragility and power of this evocative personal poem. This audio reveals proximity to grief, death and nature. The musical score, composed by Andrew Ogburn, fuses environmental recordings, electronic music and human voice.
Andrea Rassell: Film and Light Microscope Adviser
Andrea Rassell is a filmmaker and creative practice-based researcher in science art. Inspired by backgrounds in film and molecular biology, her practice focuses on the making of experimental films and moving image installations that explore scale, technological embodiment, and the multisensory perception of the sub-molecular realm. Her work has screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington, the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, White Night in Melbourne and Sónar+D in Barcelona.