Exhibitions

Project Halo inquires into the problem of the appropriation of the aura of the work of art. If I seriously consider reproducing something as ephemeral as the aura supposedly is, I would conclude it to be impossible. Nevertheless, I believe it is possible to get near it, or to approximate it, and such goal-directed manipulation can result in an encounter with a different — post–produced — art work, keeping its genuine here and now. I decided to select an iconic artifact, a well-known painting, and then to employ as the method of its reproduction a time-based medium such as film and video, superimposing it with an established cinematic optical special effect. The project thus interlinks two cultural patterns: the image and the effect. The definition of the aura of the work of art originates in the influential essay by Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), where aura is designated as the here and now of the genuine work, the unique moment of the encounter of a viewer with the physical artifact. In his text, Benjamin carefully avoids any potential doubts concerning the usefulness of the word. In his earlier texts he used this word in a more “lyrical” and metaphorical sense, as compared to his later theory of the reproduction of original work of art. Most interpretations of aura I find in dictionaries

and encyclopedias do not mention Benjamin’s theory and differ in its explications. What prevails is the relation to the aureola or
mandorla, or halo — iconographical symbols of the sacred, and it is this misinterpretation, that inspired the title of my project. I decided to join the crowd the of adepts of Art and try to appropriate the iconic artwork of Modernism – the Malevich painting Black some research on how to achieve the dolly zoom effect without the dolly. The nature of the dolly zoom requires
a short sequence of less then 30 seconds. While testing the version of the render, I stretched the time to a two-minute sequence and the effect remained. Watching the sequence, after 20 seconds the viewer is able to follow the transforming perspective of the zooming camera. I decided, for the speed of the zoom, to change to an approximation of a walking speed, which is
the speed originally intended by Roberts. While the ideal version represents an entirely “virtual” image, the image projected from the super 8 mm film is a “direct” light, capture of the real situation of the painting. I limited the technical parameters to a minimum and did not concern myself with formal perfection, instead accepting what the analogue film camera produced.

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