Julie Marsh is an artist filmmaker, academic and researcher. Through the exploration of real and representational space she investigates how technical machines can perform site, creating critical experiences for audiences that open debate and question social spaces. This mechanical process of filming is in fact an investigative way of looking, which becomes less about ‘viewing’ and more about ‘experiencing’ place.The audience is placed at the centre of both the work and, crucially, the site, as integral to the experience. Reality and its representation become equally material, experienced by the audience in the ‘here and now’.
Alongside her post-doctoral work, Julie is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster. Recent exhibitions and conferences include, SCREEN Moving Image Festival, Barcelona (2017), The Biennial for Emerging Arts, Romania (2017), Black Box Symposium, CAS (Centre for Audiovisual Studies) FAMU, Prague (2016).
In Salat (2016), the camera witnesses prayer at Birmingham Central Mosque. As a female filmmaker access to the Mosque during prayer was not allowed. There were also strict rules to follow when filming; the camera was not permitted to film in front of the people praying, nor could it show their faces. Subsequently, the CMR was constructed to film from above, at a constant speed from the entrance to the Mihrab. The camera-motorized rig was assembled in the empty prayer space to represent an experience that could not be gained first hand. This film is then projected back into the physical site using the same motorized rig, which allows the film to be played back at the same speed as it was recorded. Therefore, instead of the projected image moving across the ground, it appears to reveal the individual prayer mats of the mosque carpet and worshippers underneath.
REFERENCE RIO (2014)
Reference Rio (2014) visually explores the cinema as site through the use of the mechanical filming rig. The movement of the camera is carefully choreographed to create an exploration of perception of space, recording every detail of the architectural site. A pre-recorded 360-degree film of the empty cinema auditorium is projected on the cinema screen. Once used to record the space the rig is then used to map out the movement of the recording device as a laser is attached to the same place where the camera was mounted. The red dot of the laser traces the eye of the camera. As the audience ‘maps’ the projection to the laser within the ‘physical’ cinema space a complex relationship occurs between artwork and site. The projected image has two roles: one to locate (anchor the audience within the cinema space) and the other to disorientate (see the cinema space in a new way).
Lokomotywownia (2016) is a site-specific installation located in a train repair depot in Krakow, Poland. Established in 1927, the depot is somewhat in the shadow of modern train travel. Motorized tracks were built inside one of the abandoned carriages, allowing the materiality of the site to define the structure of the recording device. The captured footage is then played back on I-pads that move around the space mapping the reality of the physical site below and re-tracing the exact path of the camera, spatially and temporally. As the I-pads move across the surface of the interior architecture they appear to reveal the architectural elements below. This work fundamentally questions the relationship between image and so-called real space, and likewise attempts to present moving image in dialogue with sculptural form.
Pestera (2015) visually explores the interior of Ialomita Cave Monastery, in Romania. Every inch of the ceiling dome is spectacularly decorated with paintings. It was agreed that anything above the altar could be filmed during the Eucharistic service. The camera faces upwards for the entire film while the motorized mast, slowly moved down. The frame of the camera slowly starts to reveal the ceiling dome and architecture of the space. As perspective alters so does the perception of the space. As the camera moves down through the space, new architectural structures open up. The chanting and choral singing, the incense, the ritual movements of the priest and acolytes are all captured by the sound recorder attached to the CMR.Pestera (2015) was projected onto the ceiling of Atelier Contemporary Art Space, in Bucharest.
Winspit (2016) explores the physical terrain of an old quarry on the cliffs near Worth Matravers in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. Using a motorized track and Ipad to phenomenologically track the lunarscape of the cave, the recorded footage is then played back at the same speed as once recorded. The captured footage, maps the reality of the physical site below, this in turn creates a physical effect for the viewer.
In Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in art, Architecture and Film (Verso, 2002), Bruno discusses ‘this shift away from the long standing focus of film theory on sight, towards the construction of a moving theory of site’.