Aspect ratio; understood as the fine balance between an image and a two-dimensional plane becomes a question of ontology. Televisions are replaced with computer screens and yet these screens are slowly discarded for more captivating mediums. There is a risk that surfaces like a blister on the skin. Will aspect ratio face extinction as a medium?
‘aspect : ratio’ is a video exhibition which allows artists to reimagine meanings of the definition of aspect ratio as well as the notion of video art in and of itself. The exhibition unpacks such questions as “Is it still a video if it’s made on a computer program and not a camera? Who is the author of a video that splices or distorts video content made readily available on the internet? Who can claim an interactive work, which requires not a passive audience, but viewers who become participants, performers, technicians?”
Further the artists of the show shed light on issues that come to the fore within the landscape of video. These include the problematics of surveillance, consent, commodification, reproduction, exploitation and censorship.
Scum Boy’s 3D rendered art speaks to the gaming world and its domination by masculinity. Playing with the figure of the cowboy from western-themed video games this masculinity is reappropriated in queer ways.
‘Inside Out’ is a collaborative piece between Thom Dreyer, Ross Eyre, and Adam Oosthuizen that displays a morphing three-dimensional digital space. It is a vast, high def plateau that morphs in real time creating an experience that is visceral, familiar yet surreal. This strange landscape becomes a canvas onto which viewers project their own emotions, memories and sensations allowing for unique experiences.
‘EMERGENCE AFRI’ VIOLA’ by Magolide (Gabriel Baard, Mzoxolo Mayongo and Adilson De Oliveira) reveals itself as a performance art piece done in VR. It merges art’s conceptual visual language with augmented reality. The piece brings to question what art can be within this new digital expression of the medium. It makes use of archetypal symbols, theatrics as well as an amalgamation of cultural visuals creating a transcendental experience that comments on popular culture, spectacle and identity.
‘Screencrawler Montage’ by M Thesen Law is a supercut of clips from a variety of films that show figures moving through the world with the use of screens. Many of the films utilized are from the 80s, a time characterized by a fear of technological development which solidified into pop culture imagery.
‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most oppressive of them all?’ by Luvuyo Equiano is an immersive work critical of how womanhood has traditionally been about white women. We are reminded that in every Disney film the princess, usually a white damsel in distress cries. Equiano then asks “Do the tears of black womxn hold value?” The piece invites the viewer to reconsider racial and gendered norms that patriarchal and racial oppression has upheld.
‘Emmanuelle’ is a series that include some of the porn videos that Meghan Daniels watched when coming to terms with their sexuality. Feeding snippets of these films through free iPhone apps the images and sounds become an abstract glitch. Both a digital confession and secret it makes use of both old technologies and current ones to distort the confession.