Trapped Between Frames (Ming I Darkening of the Light )

UK 2014

Stereoscopic 3 channels Film Installation
  8.56 min & 11.05 min loop /16mm / VH / HD 3D SIDE BY SIDE

Performance by Aya Toraiwa
Sound Design by Laila Hansen & Andrew Stuart-Buttle.
Narration by Laila Hansen & Ayami Andrews.

“To educate the image-making medium within us,raising it to a stereoscopic and dimensional seeing into the depths of historical shadows” [1]


Ming I Darkening of the Light is a stereoscopic film installation inspired by a pre-cinematic stereoscopic display. It employs different techniques to create an illusion of depth. There are two separate films displayed, Trapped Between Frames,  outside and Dogu inside of the wooden structure. There is also a small projection onto a magnifying glass. Building a 3D stereoscopic installation inspired by its early form has driven my research into the history of technological progression from its stereoscopic illusion roots. The installation creates a dialogue between history of the 3D displayed and modes of visual record.The stereo soundscape has been created in collaboration with sound artists Laila Hansen and Andrew Stuart-Buttle.

The Kaiser-Panorama made in 1883 was the first mechanized apparatus which controlled the visual attention of the viewer. It restricted the viewing time of each image to 15 seconds. Through these fragments of stereoscopic scenarios the observer was driven by mechanization through a journey captured by colonial lenses. Imperialist ideology allowed the viewer to observe and experience the illusion of depth of a remote place for a period of time determined by the apparatus
With this installation I attempt to break through the disembodiment generated by the Kaiser-panorama, allowing the observer to experience depth in different ways. I have used Film, tape and digital apparatus during the process and have looked to the history of technological advances to create a physiological and neurological cinematic experience; the ‘Dream machine

“Here the climax of the darkening is reached. The dark power at first held so high a place that it could wound all who were on the side of good and of the light. But in the end it perishes of its own darkness, for evil must itself fall at the very moment when it has wholly overcome the good, and thus consumed the energy to which it owed its duration.”

I Ching Hexagram 36 – Ming I / Darkening of the light

The narrative is inspired by Amaterasu, Japanese mythology refers to her as the sun goddess. My research has been driven from an attempt to present an over-mythologised character, Himiko an ancient Japanese shaman queen who ruled Japan during the 3rd century. Her presence functions as an allegory of embodiment of memory, this has inspired the narrative development from an allegoric approach. Her mythical nature stems from the fact that there is no record of her existence in Japanese historical texts, whereas Chinese and Korean texts make reference to her. Her case is one of the most controversial in archaeology. In 2002 her tomb was believed to have been found and only very recently the remains of her palace have been discovered, near Nara. Her case is an example of how a mythological figure becomes real from discovered remnants.
The film functions as an oracle; this idea is taken from early Japanese religious practices and its connection to ancient Chinese philosophies. The film is named after one of the hexagrams from the I Ching, the ancient book of change, an oracle in Taoist philosophies

Dogu (inside film excerpt 1,20) 2D version single screen display from Nazare Soares on Vimeo.

“Visibilities are not forms of objects, nor even forms that would show up under light, but rather forms of luminosity which are created by the light itself and allow a things to exist only as a flash, sparkle, or shimmer”

(Deleuze 1988b, 52)

The 3D film in the interior of the installation is a projected trance, plays in loop, the narrative created through rhythm and movement. The aesthetic approaches deployed mix cinematic medias through epochs, film, tape and digital formats creating a dialogue between different visual materials. The narrative of the film develops in a manner connected with the Deleuzian concept of the brain is the screen, a constellation of images unfolds onto suspended layers of screens which will explore neurological effects and the psychology of seeing, and how visual perception affects the brain. Cognitive recognition will be provided in a flash of a series of dialectic images.

The front wall of the structure houses 2 pairs of binoculars through where, the viewer can observe. The viewer will see stereoscopic still pictures mixed with moving images. A human silhouette walks trapped between the frames of stereoscopic cave and woods scenarios. The different scenarios are displayed in loop. The historic character trapped between frames is the key to develop the narrative within the 3D interior space.

Half circumference plywood structure of about 3 meters diameter, double wall built from plywood sheets of 3.6 mm. Interior 3D film is perceived by the use of active glasses and projected through Epson 3D projector. Outside film is displayed on TV Monitors, there are two view master binoculars from where to look through. I removed lenses inside the binoculars being that the film gives illusion of depth through combination of stop motion of right and left eye. A 3D cyan-red Image projected from mini projector onto a square magnify glass.

[1] The words are Rudolf Borchard’s in Epilegomena zu Dante, vol.i ( Berlin, 1923), pp.56-57,  quoted in Arcades Project [N1,8] (Walter Benjamin)