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Brass Art – Freud’s figure-ground in motion: Macabre, rare, banal, eerie and sentimental

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Brass Art’s intervention into Freud’s house attempted to grant its solid objects, furniture and rooms a light, apparitional quality. Their performances at Maresfield Gardens were recorded with three Kinect sensors, the undifferentiated laser’s touch rendering all objects – alive, dead, static, breathing – with the same white, shining, pixellated brilliance. Objects and places that formed the props and settings for performances assume an intense luminosity, appearing to hover and tilt in a horizonless figure-ground. The interplay of focus, proximity and perception returns to consideration of the atemporal image. As artist Susan Hiller in her own observations of the Freud Museum states, ‘Close consideration of its beautiful, utilitarian, tedious, scholarly, macabre, rare, banal, eerie, and sentimental objects produces a picture in which figure-ground relationships seem to constantly shift’. This article introduces the new, multi-screen sonic work On the Thread of One Desire in development by Brass Art. It examines the way in which their recorded performances draw attention to the unconscious, the atemporal and the uncanny, and how the work foregrounds the loop, the arc and the full 360ยบ revolution, with the intention of amplifying and revealing some of the unfolding narratives embedded in Freud’s London home.
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Keywords: Freud; Kinect; atemporal; loop; performance; uncanny

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University 2: Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh 3: The University of Huddersfield

Publication date: 01 June 2016

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  • Ubiquity is an international peer reviewed journal for creative and transdisciplinary practitioners interested in technologies, practices and behaviours that have the potential to radically transform human perspectives on the world. "Ubiquity", the ability to be everywhere at the same time, a potential historically attributed to the occult is now a common feature of the average mobile phone. The title refers explicitly to the advent of ubiquitous computing that has been hastened through the consumption of networked digital devices. The journal anticipates the consequences for design and research in a culture where everyone and everything is connected, and will offer a context for visual artists, designers, scientists and writers to consider how Ubiquity is transforming our relationship with the world.
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