Research Project Assignment: An Example

Below I’ve sketched an example of a research project.  Although unfinished, it will give you an idea of how you might proceed.  Note how the sections “introduction” and “analysis + interpretation” build on the language of the project’s proposal. Also, the example below has not yet integrated quotations from the readings.  Please feel free to cite these where necessary.

 

Research Project Proposal: On Pierre Huyghe

Cheryl Simon

The works of French artist Pierre Huyghe take form as experiments in storytelling. Working with various media, in particular ‘new media’ and ‘installation’, his various creations have reflected on the role of popular cultural narrative in the production of memory and identity-individual and collective (Remake, Third Memory, Blanche Neige Lucie); the limitations on narrative development by copyright and ownership of fiction (Blanche Neige Lucie; No Ghost, Just a Shell); and/or adopted folkloric traditions and other theatrical forms to engage the work’s viewers as participants in an unfolding, and unrepeatable spectacle (A Journey that Wasn’t; Steamside Day).

Celebration Park, an exhibition installed in Paris and at the Tate Modern in 2006, brought many of the artist’s most important works together in an unprecedented form of retrospection.  Describing the event as a ‘collection of exhibitions’, Huyghe’s project was to make the exhibition more experiential than representative in its mode of address.  Presented as events rather than historical artifacts, the display of the works and their manner of engagement as much as the works themselves, reflected and restated the principle themes and strategies adopted by the artist over the course of his career. 

The research project will study the structure of this exhibition as a key to understanding the motivations and innovations of Huyghe’s oeuvre as a whole.

 

Bibliography

Gregor Muir, “Past, Present, and Future Tense,” Leonardo, Vol. 35, No. 5, Tenth Anniversary New York Digital Salon (2002), pp. 499- 500+502-508

Amy Porter, “When Art Comes to Life” MoMA, Vol. 4, No. 8 (Oct., 2001), pp. 12-14. 

“Artist Questionnaire: 21 Responses” October, Vol. 100, Obsolescence (Spring, 2002), pp. 6-97

Pierre Huyghe: Interactive Guide to Celebration Park at the Tate Modern in London

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/pierrehuyghe/

 

 

Research Project

1) Introduction 

The work of French artist Pierre Huyghe is principally concerned with the experience of time and the values, processes and effects of storytelling. Working with video, multi-media, performance and installation modes, Huyghe has explored the role of cultural narratives in the production of memory and identity (individual and collective) and the limitations on narrative production by copyright and ownership of fiction.  Typically his works involve a performative dimension-they are often scripted and involve the audience in the unfolding of the work as if it were an event.  He has produced community celebrations, with parades and other related events, and used video projection, sound, ‘active sets’ and theatrical lighting to enact epic adventure stories. 

 

In Remake and Third Memory Huyghe revised and represented two modern classics of cinema–Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon to demonstrate the power of popular culture to shape history and identity.  In the revision of Rear Window, Huyghe had actors replay the roles from memory.  In Third Memory, the artist cast the invited real life subject upon which the character and story of Dog Day Afternoon’s was based, inviting him to reinterpret the story from his own memory, a memory imprinted with actual historical experience and the Hollywood re-enactment. 

 Blanche Neige Lucie and No Ghost, Just a Shell consider the impact of copyright on identity-real and imaginary.  In the former work, Huyghe invited the woman whose voice was used by Walt Disney in the original French version of Snow White to sing the film’s theme song-an act of copyright violation if broadcast.  The difference between the real and animated characters, the old and young Snow White was evident in the performance; the disjuncture between embodied subjectivity and commodified identity revealed by the artist’s intentions.

 Works such as A Journey that Wasn’t and Steamside Day typify Huyghe’s interest in media performance.  Both works involve actual and scripted elements in unrepeatable ‘theatrical’ spectacles.

 

2) Form/Genre/Discipline  

 Although Huyghe has worked with various media-sound and light works, video remakes, and computer art forms-he might best be described as a media installation artist.  For the most part, his work involves the installation and setting of media elements in spaces where the negotiation of the mediated space situates the viewer as participant in a mediated event.   On the level of scale and drama, Huyghe’s stagecraft calls to mind the work of American contemporary artist Catherine Sullivan, although his work is not as focused on the performance so much as the staging.  Many of the works include reference to natural phenomena and so call to mind the work of Olafur Eliasson.  And like Douglas Gordon, Huyghe’s works often refer to and deconstruct classic cinematic works.

 

3) Influence + Innovation 

 Huyghe’s work distinguishes itself from his contemporaries to the extent that his principle interests lie with the unrepeatable media event…. 

 

4) Analysis and Interpretation

 Celebration Park, an exhibition installed in Paris and at the Tate Modern in 2006, brought many of the artist’s most important works together in an unprecedented form of retrospection.  Describing the event as a ‘collection of exhibitions’, Huyghe’s project was to make the exhibition more experiential than representative in its mode of address.  Presented as events rather than historical artifacts, the display of the works and their manner of engagement as much as the works themselves, reflected and restated the principle themes and strategies adopted by the artist over the course of his career.

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