Film Screening At The ICA – Anja Kirschner and David Panos, 07/05/14
Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, 2011-13
The ICA showed a special single-channel version of Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, originally made as a multi-channel video installation. The film explores the acting exercises developed by Sanford Meisner. Meisner’s techniques paradoxically deploy an unnatural training routine of intense repetition and observational feedback to stimulate ‘authentic’ emotion and spontaneity in performance that remain highly influential on American cinema and drama today.
The film combines footage of young actors working with Meisner’s exercises with material from the history of theatre and cinema – including clips of the many film stars that have been trained in his techniques. It interrogates the meaning of ’emotional truthfulness’ in post-modern naturalism and its blurring of the distinction between dramatic artifice and seemingly ‘primal’, ‘human’ impulses, simultaneously foregrounding the hypnotic, open-ended, and affective force of Meisner’s method.
Uncanny Valley, 2013
Uncanny Valley, 2013, connects the investigation into acting and modes of performance started with Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances with a longstanding interest in digital compositing and animation techniques. The piece weaves together footage of actors performing in a motion capture shoot with imagery created by crowd generating software.
Moving between the intimate process of capturing minute facial expressions to create ‘realistic’ animated characters, and the construction of epic scenes featuring thousands of chaotic figures, the work examines the contemporary representation of these two extremes of experience. Distinctions between long shot and close up, particularity and anonymity, empathy and violence collapse and interpenetrate in the digital continuum, hinting at new configurations in the real.