This project looks at the meaning of the face in performance, questioning how it is read in a world of scrutiny. Dancers, given the instructions to make their passport face, eye the camera, turn, return, restore the glance, and turn again. They begin with a neutral expression, and subtle emotions show. But can we claim to know anything about them just from their faces?
The work, based video and still images, asks what happens when we try to scrutinise the inscrutable. Stephen’s research looks at the perils of automated emotion recognition and shortcuts to understanding, red-flagging a new wave of physiognomy.
Thanks to dancers Alexandra Pholien, Josh Attwood, and Hayley Walker.
Nietzsche had mixed feelings about theatricality; he once described acting as “pantomimic hocus-pocus”. Yet he also encouraged a theatrical way of viewing. Erving Goffman, in contrast, said that all human interactions are performances.
This series records contact improvisation by two dancers, and looks at the connotations of body language and emotionally-charged postures. What do we see, interaction, performance, magic?
Thirty-two 24 x 24cm prints.
Thanks to dancers Alexandra Pholien and Leanne Vincent.
This series looks at assertive reactions to things not being what they should be. Borrowing from Magritte, an ambiguous white sphere appears in rooms, public spaces, and nature. In Magritte’s paintings, people are unaware of the object. A 1967 television series, ‘The Prisoner’ featured another sphere, nicknamed “Rover”, where it was used to enforce subservience.
In ‘Communing with Rover’, people are confronted with the object, but react with wariness, contemplation, and resistance.
Thanks to dancer Alexandra Pholien.
Garry Winogrand said “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed”. Repetition & Difference looks at what happens to an image through repeated recreation.
Dancer Alexandra Pholien performs in projections of Florence Collard’s Osmose paintings, themselves based on photographs of Alexandra dancing.
Dancers Josh Attwood, Savannah Fuentes, Katie Crain, Namyoon Kim, Maureen Antonia Urrego, Jieying Nah, Wladimir Pino Olivares, Eleni Papaioannou, Alexandra Pholien, Alexandra Pons, Marie Sheehy, Hayley Walker, Sophie West, and Daisy Winstanley
This series inverts classic approaches to portraiture, omitting the face and removing light. A traditional portrait might remind us of what we already believe about a person (think of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and how it might be influenced by confirmation bias) or it can remind us of how little we actually know about a stranger (think of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring). If, instead, our view of a person is limited to certain aspects of body language, do we learn any less compared to regarding their face?