Kit Mead is a Glasgow based artist whose practice articulates the presence of different temporal experiences by exploring the dynamics of uncertainty and transition created in the changing representation of environments and objects along with the collapsing boundaries between the real and the virtual. Recent exhibitions include 'East End Transmissions' The Pipe Factory, Glasgow; 'Streetland', Glasgow; 'Creative Futures at Sura Medura' The Briggait Projects Space, UZ Arts, Glasgow; 'Making History', Colombo Art Biennale, Goethe Institut, Sri Lanka; 'Allison and Victoria', Govanhill Baths; 'Beyond Merely Assembling', Mark Devereux Projects, Federation House, Manchester
A Temporal Practice
Time is difficult to define. It has been sought to be understood and questioned since humans first started to attempt to make sense of the world and reality they live in. A general expectation and application of time as being something rigid and unchangeable, helps keep society ticking along but when one looks closer it begins to unfurl, losing its motion and universal meaning. Contemporary notions of time can be many different and paradoxical possibilities.
It is often seen as a concept made to grasp the fixed progression of the linear arrow of the present which hurtles from the past and beyond into future unknowns never again to return to moments already gone, while also never to be truly confirmed until they happen. A collective acceptance of the diurnal cycle is in place with the assumption that the Earth will spin in 24 hours, rotate on its axis and orbit the sun in 365 days, creating seasons, days and nights, months and years. This together with the horological measurement of time keeping—now advanced to the realms of atomic clocks which record the microwave signals emitted by electrons as they change energy levels—help present this temporal universality. But along with this unified understanding of time it can also be a singular experience of an individual, through biological internal clocks governed by temperature and sleep cycles along with the idea of a lived time, where it starts and ends, or maybe only exists in the lifetime of oneself.
I have come to recognise the importance of using materials and media that inherently contain qualities of time when communicating concepts that deal with this overarching subject matter, while also allowing those vehicles that visualise my ideas to form new areas to explore. I generally develop work that uses ephemeral and durational states along with digital videos and experiential moving image installations. While it can appear self-explanatory using time-based media to produce work dealing with time, I find using materials that allow to move beyond representation can create something more immediate and instinctive but also immersive, setting up the opportunity to be lost in a different temporal state or world which expands and contracts. The moving image also has a strong engagement historically with theoretical discourse on different notions of time, which presents the opportunity for a more expansive area of subject matter to negotiate such as the notion of duration developed by Henri Bergson and implemented in the writing of Giles Deleuze.
While the work I develop is not dictated by this specific concept of duration, I do find it influential when considering the associations of temporality with cinema, along with acting as an empowering tool to help interrogate, interpret and reveal the forms of time I seek to explore. Though some of my work has more recently told stories through linear compositions the digital video and moving image pieces I produce regularly contain non-linear narratives, repetitive structures and irrational cuts. This allows moments, histories and locations to entangle and intersect along with letting the work flow in pluralistic terms. Expectations audiences place upon moving image art when they come into contact with them in gallery environments, particularly how the beginning and end of the work can be decided by each individual when watching a work on continuous loop is also an important consideration in the process’s of outcomes when I develop moving image installations. I often set up repetitive cyclical filmic structures in the editing of my digital videos which creates the possibility of different durational experiences. When presented in installational forms and looped these works can be viewed in short bursts and for long drawn out sequences as well as interacted intermittently or repeatedly but at alternative times.
Rather than using film I have currently only produced digital moving image work and as a result the content often deals with the aesthetics or issues surrounding this particular medium. The impact of digitisation on how moments and events, environments and locations are understood, responded too and ultimately shaped or changed has been an area of great interest to me. The arrival of the internet and the communicative immediacy of social media has resulted in an expansive plain for information to be presented, processed and consumed. This has created an instantaneous opportunity for restricted or otherwise unknown actions and moments to have a voice and an audience to bear witness to its existence, causing these moments to increase in importance and gain momentum. Digital media is thus becoming a major defining factor in how the history of the 21st century is being shaped and recorded. Immediacy has come to define expectations and beliefs, while drawn out moments of waiting and boredom, have been replaced by speed and information overload.
The democratisation and increased accessibility of motion graphics and 3D animation software, has also opened up new areas for artists to explore and experiment in. As a result I have recently been producing work which could be described as moving image collages using appropriated images and sounds along with my own digitally recorded cinematic observations. It is possible to cut and paste imagery from separate sources, different histories can be layered on top of one another rather than just placed side by side creating a new form of time travel where pasts, presents and futures can visibly cohabit. As pixel max expands and the resolution enhances further into hyper-real simulacra of 4K high-definition and beyond, these moving image collages can also present different layers of resolution quality, showing the history and decay of digital moving image. For now it seems time has never been more visible.
To see more of Kit's work visit: www.kitmead.co.uk