Walk Cylces (Homage to Eadweard Muybridge and Bruce Nauman) is a study on the psychology of the mind and the motion of the female human body. Referencing motion studies conducted by photographer Eadweard Muybridge, the female figure in Walk Cycles endlessly navigates a hallway with fractured, graceless, nonsensical, and awkward movements. Sometimes running, walking, or frozen in an infinite loop, the viewer is presented with a fragmented self portrait of the figure as she moves through a transitional space. In the hallway she endlessly paces, her movements become a metaphor for inner frustration and anxiety as she appears to have little control over her own actions. In this way, her body movements become a site through which to explore gender stereotypes of the maniacally depressed woman.
Walk Cycles (Homage to Eadweard Muybridge and Bruce Nauman) is a multi-layered video piece that depicts myself running or walking at various speeds down the length of a hallway and disappearing out of sight. These motions continue in a loop so that it appears as if I am running around in a circle; the viewer only witnessing half of this action. Aesthetically, the video is similar in appearance to motion studies conducted by Eadweard Muybridge and Bruce Nauman. This is a conscious decision so that there may be a visual link to past art historical works of art that explore motion.Utilizing still images, Muybridge dissects the movements of the body in an analog frame by frame fashion. Every movement of the human body happens consecutively. For example, when a person is running, the motion of his/her legs cannot happen all at once. Many of Muybridge’s images visually change the perspective of witnessing a person in motion by displaying all of the motions in one action at one time; a feat that cannot happen in reality. I utilize this same strategy to analyze the motions of walking down a hallway while manipulating them using digital techniques. For example, repetition of the same movement, changing speed, duration, and forward and backward motion produces unnatural and agitated human mannerisms. I even go so far as to trick the camera into making me walk at a regular pace by walking in an exaggeratedly slow manner. When sped up, my motions become inhuman and illogical.
Utilizing the video self portrait, Walk Cycles (Homage to Eadweard Muybridge and Bruce Nauman) is placed in context within the conceptual video pieces coming out of the 1960’s. Such artists include Lisa Steele, Martha Rosler, Bruce Nauman, Robert Smithson, Michael Show, and many others. These artists use the camera as a tool rather than creative medium; usually employing experimental practices and documenting a performance or action. In these conceptual videos, the artists usually function as subject. In the canon of art history, well known artists and scientists such as Thomas Eakins and Eadweard Muybridge also use the camera as a tool for recording “data”. Their studies of human movement sought to understand the kinetic actions of animals and humans. Employing scientific practices, the humans become objects under the gaze of the camera lens.