About the work

Contraction is a multi-channel installation that uses animated loops to examine lockdown through the individual experience of habits, obsessions and rituals.

Using the concept of repetition and difference, this non-narrative work charts the journey of precise and intentional actions into a space of uncertainty and chaos.

Through the repetition and variation of everyday actions, the familiar becomes difficult to understand. The loops overlap, contrast, correspond and finally erupt in a climax of pattern and deviation.

I wanted to examine being in a time and space where many things became unfamiliar. I started with the question ‘What did it mean to experience an event individually but also at the same time as millions of other people?’ Is there such a thing as a collective experience of distance? Because of the nature of the subject – lockdown, confinement, I felt it is important to conceive of the piece from the very beginning as an installation that allows for multiple viewpoints and shared experience.

The work is rear-projected onto a curved triptych made up of three hanging frosted polypropylene sheets. Rear projection allows the audience to move around the space and view the piece from multiple positions without interrupting the image.

Animation media used includes hand-drawn pencil, colour-pencil, pastel, gel-pens, digital 2D and paint on glass. Projections synced using TouchDesigner/ISADORA.

The work was first shown during the RCA MA show [29.03.23-03.07.23] and again during my solo show ‘Out of Hand’ at Rabbet Gallery in Peckham [15.09.23-24.09.23].

Animation, Direction: Lianne Milward

Sound design: Joaquin San Pedro Rodriguez

Sound mix: Joaquin San Pedro Rodriguez + Joe Hirst

Below is a selection of photographs of the installation taken at both RCA Kensignton Campus and Rabbet Gallery by Naaman Azhari and Leo Garbutt.

image of installation with two gloves hands projected onto screen
image of installation with hands animation hands projected onto screen
image of installation with hands animation hands projected onto screen
image of installation with hands animation hands projected onto screen
image of installation with lungs animation hands projected onto screen
image of installation with paint on glass animation projected onto screen
image of installation with hands animation hands projected onto screen

The animation was mostly rotoscoped and made using with a range of media including paint-on-glass, pastel, pencil and digital ( TVpaint).

The piece is made up of multiple loops. I chose to edit the piece in Aftereffects which allowed me to manually edit the number of frames in a loop. To make loops go out of time with each other, instead of cutting frames from a loop, the majority of time, I expanded looped segments by inserting more frames of a particular part, usually using a different medium to do so. I used the idea of repetition and variation in this way to express the repetitiveness of covid lockdown. Repetitive acts often become weird and strenous over time (e.g  try to say one word over and over and it becomes nonesense) just as watching this piece has a mesmerising and unsettling feeling to it, watching the same action again and again. In this way I was able to use the materiality of the animation itself to demonstrate the idea of the familiar becoming unfamiliar and look at the obsessive habits many people entered into during lockdown.

Below are some still frames from the piece.