The Transience of Emotion (2011)

Curated by Jenni Barrett
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With the increasingly constant influx of social networking media expecting us to condense our reactions and responses to ever-smaller expressions of text and imagery, it is perhaps only to be expected that our ability to display and convey emotional responses has become equally fleeting. The Transience of Emotion explores the ways in which new media art shows our ability to seamlessly transition between feelings almost as quickly as we are able to understand the experiences. This exhibition opens with literal depictions of fleeting emotional responses before a series of more representational art is considered. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Human-IntoFace combines a series of posed facial expressions, pulled by an array of people, portraying them on a single, constantly changing, face. This could be seen as a commentary on the wide range of moods which people are capable of, showing just how swiftly emotions can change. Similarly, Simultaneous Portraits depicts six videos showing non-performers who were “asked to scream until they couldn’t scream anymore”. The rests these people take before screaming again further suggests just how effortless the transition between impassive and expressive reactions has become. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx During recent years the online world has become progressively more anonymous, with pseudonyms used for everything from blog entries to Twitter posts. It therefore becomes even more poignant that depictions of real people and real faces are avoided in favour of the incorporation of representational art. ChromaTweet utilises concepts of Twitter but in the form of ‘nanotweets’, using only hexadecimal codes to express emotion through a block colour. When a year of such ‘nanotweets’ is viewed, the rainbow of colour appears reminiscent of transience, showing how just how short-lived a person’s bad or good mood can be. As well as portraying colour, Robert Seidel’s video E3 also utilises expressions of form to document such changes to emotion. This video shows a diary of paintings animated into a short film, with each work contorting repeatedly to imply his feelings regarding everyday life. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Eidetic Memory also depicts changes to emotion, but this time over the period of a “very bad day in Berlin”. The artist uses interactive photographs to show what was actually experienced at specific times during the day, with animated illustration representing his personal feelings about these experiences. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The final work, Photoclock, conversely allows the exhibition visitor to view a constantly changing series of photographs which were taken of scenes “worth photographing” at each specific minute of the day. This enables the visitor to experience the swift transience of emotion which was documented by the earlier artists, allowing them to react accordingly with their personal feelings and opinions to twenty-four hours of photography.

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