Portraits of the Working People of Somerset

People involved in this project

Principal investigator:

School Arts
Department Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television
Dates April 2010 - April 2012
Website Working People of Somerset
Funder AHRC: Creative Research Fellowship
Collaborator(s) Watershed Media Centre, South West Screen
Contact person Terry Flaxton

More about this project

Portraits of the Working People of Somerset is the 8th project in a Practice as Research Portfolio began in 2008. The strategy within the still-yet-moving-portraits was to create a series of portraiture works where the subject was as aware of us as we of them, who demonstrated this by looking straight down the lens - and that the resolution were sufficiently high to present them at full size on a large screen so the audience could scrutinise them in detail and allow us the idea that they too might scrutinise us, across time.

Behind this lay my engagement with the growing understanding of the neuro-scientific community of mirror neurons as mechanisms for empathy. Attending that understanding was the associated research concerning the measurability of the small voltage changes that course through the brains of an audience that unite the audience in its viewing – We’re all familiar with the feeling that attends this sort of neural behavior when we’re concentrating and we become aware that someone is looking at us – so we turn and return their gaze. As a researcher/artist this told me that in our neuro-scientific development we were beginning to recognize the evidence of the energy of the gaze. The still-yet moving-image-portraiture strand is one of three research portfolios that together formed the thrust of the research in my Creative Research Fellowship (2007 – 2010).