J A M E S  B R Y A N T

untitled (Kiss of Death), untitled (Kiss of Life), 2019

This work is a two-channel, livestream video projection installation. The installation incorporates two hanging projection screens positioned opposite each other. Each screen is 195cm high and 132cm wide, the distance between them is 185cm. The screen material is a specially designed rear-projection PVC. The projectors are fixed to bespoke plinths. On each screen is fixed a micro computing camera lens, which displays a small red led light while the camera is filming.

The images projected are low-resolution digital images; they are abstract when no one is stood in between the screens. When a viewer enters the screens, they will immediately see an image of themselves appear on one screen. This image is broadcast in real time, it is not a recorded image. The size ranges from larger-than-life, to approximately life-size, determined by how close the viewer stands to the camera. The opposite camera will show the reverse viewpoint but with a 15-second delay. This image is recorded and broadcast through YouTube.

The result of this symmetrical and asynchronous set-up is that the images captured will continue to reverberate once the viewer has left the installation. The digital image is bounced from one screen and immediately reflected back in the other. Over time its quality degrades until it becomes only flashing colours and bright patches of light. All of the images are marked by at least one, and often multiple, renditions of the camera and camera cable which are integral to it. On both screens the images are captured and broadcast in a negative colour spectrum, this allows for fleeting glimpses of reproduced images in a positive colour spectrum set within the mise en abyme. Integral to the work is a feeling of the symbiotic relationship; each image requires the other in order to exist.

The physical intention of the install is to create a semi-private space, a space the that viewer feels they are entering in to, rather than passing through. The result is akin to a body scanner. Due to the interaction of the immediate and delayed image playback there is often a moment that occurs where it seems that the two images on screen are courting or kissing each other.

The work can be seen as a response to my research regarding the mirror stage as described by Jacques Lacan in Écrits and also mirror induced synesthesia as described by Thomas Metzinger in his book The Ego Tunnel. In both cases an example is given of visual images (specifically mirror reflections) having the ability to affect a physiological condition of the viewer: Lacan describes how the female pigeon’s gonad mature on viewing a mirror image of itself; Metzinger describes how mirrors can be used to unlock phantom limbs in amputee patients. This suggestion of an image giving life, creating virtual organs, inspired the original intention of the work which has evolved with relation to how images can inform and create other images ultimately with no need for the referent from which the original rendition was created. Iconoclasm and duplicity are a syntax that I’m using throughout my practice, often with a sub-text related to identity. Here I consider identity in the context of understanding how everyday hallucinations and narratives have created my world view and the background narratives that are constantly updating and fermenting my own ego tunnel.

untitled (Kiss of Death), untitled (Kiss of Life), 2019

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