Torus & Mark Prendergast stare into a digitally mediated sun in 3000 Mirrors
Developed from a previous collaboration between the two artists, 3000 Mirrors uncouples footage of the sun from its digital footprint, transforming ghosting and lens flare into separately autonomous digital entities.
In the work of Mark Prendergast the world is viewed differently. Using various methods of digital image manipulation, the artist focuses in on the idiosyncrasies of the kind of imagery that is inextricable from the contemporary moment. From smartphone image stabilization algorithms to aspect ratio pivots and motion tracking, in works such as EYE FALL and his video for Holly Childs and Gediminas Žygus’s collaborative track ‘Hand Axe’, Prendergast playfully subverts the conventions of digital imaging tools and the languages that govern them, enacting an ongoing interrogation of the intricate textures of digital aesthetics. This methodology is continued in 3000 Mirrors, his most recent collaboration with Joeri Woudstra, better known as the producer and sound artist Torus. Taken from his recent EP for Tresor Records, 333 Mirrors, the track is a spiritual successor to ‘300 Mirrors’, which began life as part of an audiovisual collaboration between Prendergast and Woudstra entitled These Cars Do Not Exist. In that work footage of the sea and the sky, clouds and concrete, pigeons, seagulls and bats is warped and refocused to gently lysergic effect, approximating a smartphone lens eye view of everyday objects and animals. In 3000 Mirrors, footage of the sun is uncoupled from the artefacts of its digital footprint, transforming lens flare and ghosting into separately autonomous digital entities.
“I was outside on a sunny day taking a photograph with my phone, I pointed my camera at the sun and noticed that turquoise dot, an aberration of the lenses of the recent iPhones,” explains Prendergast. “The flare was very present because the image of the sky and sun was so simple. This nervous dot is on a lot of our images but it has kind of been folded into visual language and is now something we don’t see. It fades into the background, or actually foreground, of the image and I wanted to give it some presence.” Opening on rolling clouds, evocative of the infinite scroll and the imperceptibly frictionless relationship we have with our screens, the radial flare of the sun indicates a technologically enabled flattening of the star, it’s image digitally reproduced as visual effect. Just as Woudstra’s arpeggiated euphoria begins its serotonin spiking ascendency, the sun and its iPhone induced visual artefacts are separated, moving as tracers disconnected from one another, as though manifesting the tension between silence and sonic swell that drives Woudstra’s production. “As I was filming I was thinking about the idea of mediation,” Prendergast continues, “how by putting a camera between me and the sun there was kind of a game I could play. The camera gave me a new, augmented relationship with the sun.”
“The sun and the dot became something like a paintbrush, so there was a process of figuring out how to work with it as a new medium, how to draw with it and what kinds of marks it can make,” he continues. “I am playing with light and how our eyes perceive it, I think the video feels very bright but it is no brighter than anything else on your screen, which also comes with the connotations of the sun. I think both the imagery and the music are exploring abstraction and ambience. There’s a brightness to the track, and also a sense of trying to overcome or push forward which I feel is encapsulated by digital methods allowing the sun a new form of agency. It becomes alive in a different kind of way.” Just as Woudstra reconfigures the ethereal beauty of the track’s ambience through stroboscopic loops and distant percussive crashes, Prendergast converts the aesthetic experience of pointing your phone at the sky into a generative process, transforming an abstraction of the sun into the raw material of his visual composition. In 3000 Mirrors, the image of the sun and the ephemeral turquoise dot that, through the iPhone lens, represents its digital counterpart are viewed equally, each imbued with a new aesthetic autonomy, the distance from the physical object and its reproduced image obscured, recontextualised as digital canvas.
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