Mediation and The Interrupted Mark

Posted in Writing by robbiekarmel on March 14, 2012

For a while I have had an interest in the directness and indirectness available to drawing. In the making of the mark, the making of the image and the communication of concept there are many points for possible interruption or filtering. In attempts to increase the tension in a work I often deliberately create obstacles for myself. I have been attempting to make work that is as direct as possible as far as the physicality of mark goes, however recently I realized that even though I feel that working with pencil on paper was incredibly direct that it’s possible to make entire drawings without ever actually touching the paper. The pencil, the instrument of creation, mediates the whole work. As an extension of this I have attempted to draw with the pencil at the end of a 2-meter pole.  Of course, the empathetic nature of the pencil isn’t entirely due to the immediate physicality of the medium, there is also the fact that any viewer will have experienced mark making with a pencil and is able to identify with the actions and time it requires to make the work. As such I wish for the viewer to also identify with the obstacles, or at least be aware that there was something obstructing the mark making, be it physical or notional.

In working from projection the mediation involved in drawing from observation is modified by the mediation of the camera, the computer, and the projector. Where previously the mind had to flatten the image, create the illusion of body, substance and shape, now the camera does the work. This allows for a more directly mimetic drawing. It can also provide a strict structure for less conventional mark making techniques. If the object is there for the drawing to hang on, and the object has been paid down in such a direct and solid means as projection, then the act of drawing itself may become much more instrumental than by other means of representative drawing.

In the past artists have thoroughly engaged space, movement, drawing and the body with incredibly physical works they are generally abstract works. Paint, graphite or charcoal is dragged, drawn and splattered around the space with direct and bodily physical force (such as Otto Zitko, Cy Twombly,  Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano).  While I find this work incredibly compelling, I wish to also engage more traditional drawing conventions and techniques. I still wish to hang the drawing on the subject.

In drawing with both hands, symmetrically and simultaneously, I intend to create one drawing directly referring to the projection and one drawing mediated by my kinesthetic and tactile awareness rather than by sight. The traced drawing will always be mediated by my interpretation of the image, the means in which I chose to copy or represent the image, and the photograph and the projection itself. Each ‘lens’ separates the image from the subject by another degree, particularly the use of a camera and a projector, as the initial photograph, the computer, the projector, the eye, the mind, and the hand are all interrupting the mimicry of the subject. I believe that this is analogous of the way in which we communicate in contemporary culture, a metaphor— albeit a clumsy one. In contemporary culture all information and communication is heavily mediated, not necessarily maliciously or even intentionally. In the extreme and most ubiquitous example huge amounts of information delivery and personal interaction take place as mediated by the Internet or mobile phone etc. However even something that could be considered more communal and immediate such as a live concert is heavily mediated. Like drawing the simple act of drawing a bow across strings means that the initial emotional expressions of the musician is mediated through mind, hand and bow, then again by the interaction of the strings and the bow. Beyond this the acoustics and the ambient air will again mediate the sound before reaching the listeners eardrum, where again, the sound goes through a series of transformations before the listener finally registers it as a sound, then they must interpret that sound into an emotional reaction. This is the simplest example— such transferences become much less direct should electric amplification be involved, transforming sound into signal and back again.



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