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Images and places - Sense as surfacing

Landau, Daniel

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Daniel Landau


A practice research project exploring onto-epistemology produced through experimental located moving image practice in concrescence with the cinematic thought of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947). There are two central site-related photomedia arts projects, along with supporting pieces. The work is presented in short video and photo documentation. This practice asks ‘what do moving images do?’ It addresses this through a practice of making in relation to place. Whitehead’s propositions produce vectors in the practice, which in turn produce new synthesis for further propositions that form my written outcomes. This thesis contends that video images are made from a productive nexus between camera and a place. These new images enter back into places. This project explores productive syntheses from the oscillation produced for humans through making documentary images and placing them as performative micro-political events. A formal problem for the viewer in the situated image is that images have zero thickness, but are concrete in their relationship with a viewer. The practice events in this thesis offer the opportunity for formal enquiries about what images do in a place, acting with complex micro-political vectors, thus moving media practice research towards an investigation into aspects of relational encounter. In this way photomedia practices are understood as speculative experimentation in the metaphysics of relational processes. These encounters rest on the understanding of ‘prehension’ which involves the direct ingression of experience in the continual creation of entities, including humans. With prehension, Whitehead unifies experience into becoming, ontology with epistemology, and thus, the thesis argues, can be construed for the experience of productive oscillation of image with place. A growing number of writers (Hansen MB, Keating T, Lapworth A, Manning E, Marks LU, Massumi B, Murphie M, Shaviro S) are applying prehension for understanding media experiences. This work adds to the field as is developed through experimental media practice.
Three propositions are presented in the written thesis. First, Focus as touch: explores making haptic visuality temporal through the moment of touch produced by shallow depth of field. This sets the ground for ‘feeling’ in image encounter. Second, Texture of experience:examines how photomedia images produce an understanding of experience firstly as textured. Third, Sense as Surfacing: develops how texture is produced as complex vectoral manifolds in experience. The site of the work was a privately owned public place in Bristol: a raised covered public square used by different people at different times of the day – office workers who called it Junky Corner, homeless people, young people who called it Dry Spot. I used this space to film demolitions of an adjacent site, then reinstalled the images on translucent LCD screens made from e-waste at the site. The work was then developed further by thinking through images understood as surface layers and through the texture of daily experience in the production of an augmented reality app in response to an illegal closing off of the square. Overall, the thesis argues that a process-relational onto- epistemology is tacit in moving image practices, which are always located in specific surfacing events of relational encounter. Experience for a camera is the cause of the becoming of the video. An entity feels difference from a situation through the feeling of the surface of encounter, and simultaneously the prehension of the surfacing event is the cause of the becoming of the percipient entity. Whitehead’s thought, like the cinematic apparatus, is a system of logical causations, producing creativity through disjunctive synthesis.


Landau, D. Images and places - Sense as surfacing. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 2, 2021
Keywords Practice Research, Photomedia, Metaphyisics, Whitehead, Activism
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