Present Manifesting | William Humphrey 

“For my final project I have created a process-based video performance exploring image deterioration via rephotography, post-processing, and instructional performance tediums. I rephotographed myself wrapping and unwrapping linens around my head 100 times, all whilst a video conglomerate composed of all previous recordings was projected on top of and behind me. Between each recording I processed the previous footage through layering in a non-linear editing platform. The newly rendered video file is then projected on top of me in the proceeding session. This process was laboriously repeated many many times. Altogether 90 takes were made over 6 sessions of performing. Following the video performance, I set out to entirely dissociate the image I created: I rephotographed the video ten more times to create a vignetted dismantling of the image into a light event continually proceeding the actual. The video performance contains simultaneously each of my immediate performances (potentially accompanied by a live performance) servicing the complete transferral deterioration of my own image.

Clip of a live performance

This project is interested in the duality between actual and represented, attempting an exasperation of the self into anonymity. Social media allows a veil to curate one’s externally-perceived experiences separate from their actual lived experiences. These two parallels of experience exist in simultaneity within digital bodies and act as agents of reification. Either draws its power from the other: a feedback loop. Techno-media systems coded under capitalist and colonial ideology hardwire their motives and biases into their very algorithms. This subjects physical bodies to the transferral of lived experiences into data (image data, text keywords, geolocations, sound recordings, timestamps, model numbers, ect.) for corporate, government, law enforcement, and employer usage. These technological channels, embedded as transducers, simultaneously co opt and capitulate us. My project aims to intervene between the physical and digital body dichotomy and its inevitability of desynchronisation. The gestures, objects, site(s), and tactics I employ for this piece relate to image implosion and deterioration, cyborgism, and social media veils. The action of the project , which is repeated mechanistically throughout, is referential to file compression and uncompression. The infrastructures required to facilitate our ever-growing connective network has increased at a rapid pace. File compression algorithms are one way to hasten a transfer of files online; however a video-file will lose pixel quality upon reception and playback. In this serial enactment of a repetitive task with every previous take presented around me I am simultaneously interfering with and complicit in the deterioration of my own image. A direct relation is being made between the site of the digital and it’s corporeal counterpart: an intersectional continuum taken to it’s enth. The site(s) this project conceptually occupies stretch beyond a necessary data-body relation to the very face of the projected digital image. Quickly, it becomes tangled in itself, simultaneously dignifying digital interzones whilst calling attention to the need for data-body autonomy. Photons hit my skin and bend around my form, I intervene on the implosion of my own image.”

The real power of site-specific work is that it somehow activates, or engages with, the narratives of the site in some kind of way. (Pearson)