Fermata (Diving) Video, continuous loop.
Editor’s Note: This feature was originally published on our previous platform, In the In-Between: Journal of Digital Imaging Artists, and the formatting has not been optimized for the new website.
Professional sporting events are places of intense spectacle. Athletes rise to celebrity status as they execute stunning displays of skill to the explosive adulation of audiences waiting in anticipation. Once the spectacle has been realized, the spectators return to their state of anticipation and the cycle continues.
The Fermata series seeks to disrupt this sine wave model of tension and release, extending the precious few seconds of stillness that exist before the sudden exertion of energy. These moments are cut from their original context and meticulously looped, breaking up the familiar model experience and trapping the viewer in an alternate timeline offering only the swelling of anticipation. A tennis player repeatedly bounces the ball that will never be served. A batter sways back and forth in preparation for a pitch that will never arrive. An Olympic diver rises and falls while perched on the end of a board that will never propel her into the air. There is a new ambiguous relationship formed between athlete and viewer as the comfortable roles are stripped away.
Fermata (Tennis). Video, continuous loop.
It is in this artificially infinite moment that the athletes are removed from their sacred position, no longer the hero. They are equally trapped with the viewer in this expanded moment, unable to perform the feat for which they have focused and trained much of their lives.
As the athlete fades from glory the viewer’s gaze shifts and searches for something more in this scene of unrealized spectacle. The minutiae of the event come into focus. The previously ignored and invisible details of the background rise to the surface to fill the void created by the faltering protagonist. Subtle shifting movements of the audience feed back on themselves to create undulating waves that wash across the frame of the screen. The persistent flexing arc of the diving board splits the screen in two, compressing the air and space around it into all but audible waves. Vibrating geometric structures emerge as figures and forms break down into the unfamiliar.
Fermata (Golf). Video, continuous loop.
The organic rhythms of human motion in each frame become mechanical and incessant, no longer compatible with the viewer’s own inner rhythms. This disequilibrium between natural and artificial rhythms presents itself for the viewer to process. Yet the uncertainty of the moment disables a singular reading. As viewers discover there is nothing to wait for, no climactic release, they find themselves slipping between jittery anxiety, hypnotic obsession, and soothing tranquility as the tension builds and melts away in new cycles created in the bodily rhythms of the viewers themselves.
The fermata of the moment resituates spectators in relation to the event that fails to unfold before them. It is now we who play the active role, challenged to understand our own emotional response, our own focal point, our own meaning among the myriad working parts of this infinite moment. And there is no scored point, no win, and no loss to distract us.
Fermata (Track). Video, continuous loop.
Brian Patrick Franklin received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania State University. He lives and works in Normal, Illinois where he is an assistant professor in the School of Art at Illinois State University. Franklin has been a visiting artist at the Park School in Baltimore, Maryland and at the Digital Graffiti Visiting Artist Series in Alys Beach, Florida. As a member of TiF, an experiment in online culture, music, performance art, video games, and human nature, he has traveled across the United States performing in youth centers, bars, and living rooms. His interdisciplinary work has been shown in venues ranging from the World Science Festival to impromptu takeovers of public space in the United States and Europe.
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