London Gallery West is delighted to present a new series of large-scale prints by Susan Morris: Untitled Motion Capture Drawings. These works reveal the rhythm and habitual gestures of the body, or what anthropologist Michael Taussig calls a ‘bodily unconscious’. The idea for these works emerged when the artist was working on another set of drawings – she felt that there was something happening in the body while she worked with its own logic, that if recorded would leave its own kind of trace. A possibility to record this movement arose at Newcastle University's motion capture studio, where two drawings would be made simultaneously; one unfolding in the light of day, the other – a latent image – drawing itself, invisibly, as an accumulation of numerical data subsequently converted into line using an algorithmic code.
Although the motion capture studio sessions capture movement in 3D, Morris has chosen to print just the plan, elevation and side views, which show the movement from each of the reflectors worn on various parts of the body during the session. The resulting cloud-like images are counterpointed by 1:1 life-size details that isolate the motion of a single sensor, whether attached to hand, knee or the back of her head. The Motion Capture Drawing is therefore something between a creaturely scribble and a diagram bearing scientific data; a kind of notation or shadow of the source drawing from which it was generated. The process has a kinship with photography as it is an indexical trace. Yet, like the chronophotographic processes invented by J.-E. Marey, it is done with a camera blind to everything but the light reflected off the sensors. The resulting image is a hybrid form -- both index and diagram.
Normally, users of motion capture technology are interested in the most readable generic movement and so they iron out idiosyncrasies of motion. In this work, however, it is precisely these irruptions in the line that make it interesting as a document of what goes on below the level of consciousness. The work aims to make the viewer aware of the complexity and almost dance-like rhythm of bodily movement involved in even the most mundane activities.
9am – 5pm daily
Thursday 02 February, 5 – 8pm