Automaton 3 November 2006 photographic record
Video and performance artist Dower participated in ‘Single Shot’ at Tate Britain, London (2006), an exhibition of a single screen video projection with sound. All the works in the exhibition were filmed in a single continuous take. Dower’s film, Automaton, was commissioned by the Film and Video Umbrella for gallery exhibition, outdoor and cinematic screening and web-download.
One of the principal aims of his research was to represent in film both the performance and the technology of its representation, each on an equal footing. This work featured an improvising percussionist (Steve Noble) playing a black and chrome drum-kit against a brightly lit, white background. The camera movement was programmed using a motion control camera rig (of the type often used in commercial cinema and television for special effects).
Referencing the ‘live,’ single take in cinema (Orson Wells’Touch of Evil) and the technology behind subjectively perceived camera movement, e.g. the Steady-Cam as used by Stanley Kubrick in The Shining or 2001, A Space Odyssey, Dower’s film also explored improvisation and the ‘live take’ in music.
This project was supported by the Arts Council and Film Council of Great Britain and Premier Percussion. The exhibition also toured to venues in Manchester, Gateshead, Birmingham and other UK cities and included the work of other artists including Clio Barnard, Ori Gersht, Mike Marshall and George Barber. The exhibition was reviewed in The Times (8 November 2006) and Modern Painters (March 2007), both articles having complementary and descriptive paragraphs referring to Automaton.
The film can be reviewed on the website which accompanied the exhibition: www.single-shot.co.uk.