Threshold of Peripheral Induction

Threshold of Peripheral Induction
Leighton Pierce
2012 | 4 Channel Video, 8 Channel Audio
UM Slusser Gallery
March 26 – April 2
PLEASE NOTE: Pierce provides an artist talk Friday, March 30th at 3pm in Slusser Gallery

Pierce’s installation creates an environment for proto-narratives. The imagined camera constantly moves as if an entity through real yet abstracted space. Small events occur, yet a plot never takes hold. This is the proto-narrative—events seem to be linked in time and across space, but likely outcomes are never encouraged.

Through specific arrangement of a “U” shaped projection object, Pierce has made it impossible to see more than two projected images at once. The observer must continually change their viewing position – a move which simultaneously eliminates some images from view. The purposeful lack of an ideal viewing position forces an engagement with memory and forgetting as the observer integrates visual, aural, and spatial impressions into an internal shifting coherence.

The images themselves are both beautiful and uncanny. The bulk of the material was shot in natural light at night, much of it in a rural setting away from most artificial light sources. Pierce shot thousands of handheld long-exposure digital stills that he later wove into video “shots.” He moved the camera during each of these long (several seconds in most cases) exposures, painting with the low light and strange color shifts of night onto the image sensor. In these images, both the light of night and the markers of time due to intentional motion blur create a sense of familiar strangeness.

Pierce’s process of shooting embodied an attentional effect, which he continued to explore throughout the editing and arrangement of the finished piece. The difficulty of capturing handheld moving stills to be later animated into video, forced an attention to kinesthetic memory while shooting. Each hour long “shoot” (required to gather material for a one or two minute shot) was a continuous dance with the camera. Coupled with the necessary live calculations of simultaneous time streams (1 – each exposure’s duration and the unnaturally slow movement required to shoot in this stop-motion manner and 2 – the anticipated duration and temporal flow of the completed video shot), this created a production environment in which he could embed a quality of attention into the process of making itself, from the very first moment.