Micah Stansell makes videos that resist classification. His current work with collaborator and wife Whitney Stansell, Past. Perfect. Continuous., plays with narrative themes while resisting any obvious plot. The installation uses eight channels of hard-synced video, forcing the viewer decide where to focus and evoking an inescapable feeling that one is always missing some part of the equation. Drawing on colorful frames of William Eggleston-like compositions, the video creates dream-like, Southern visions of family drama. The unexpectedly cinematic and polished quality of the individual videos combined with such an open structure leaves Past. Perfect. Continuous in a strange but fascinating place on the spectrum between narrative and experimental video.
How did you and Whitney prepare for this show? Are you involved in each others creative process?
We collaborate ceaselessly because were married and everything we do we talk about. Theres some amount of collaboration on everything we do, but this was a direct collaboration because we knew we were exhibiting together and we wanted the works to resonate with each other.
It grew out of exploring these ideas of what drawing drawing and painting, two dimensional work means to video work work thats time-based. There are some real direct correlations. We chose to use forms that are similar: shes working with these small panels that mimic the panel size of the monitors. In her drawings, theres this sense of editing you have wide shots, close-ups, medium shots combining to tell a story. Its thinking of drawing as a time-based media.
I took the ideas of temporality from drawing and applied them to video. I worked without sound in this piece. Because of the correlation with drawing, I thought it would be interesting to work purely visually. I spent time thinking about implied sound and how sound is still present in a silent place. I guess Ive gotten off track, but that collaboration really is the genesis of the work.
Did the narrative and thematic elements develop collaboratively, as well?
The seed of the story is from Whitneys family her mother and her parents who grew up in Pittsburg in the Northeast. Whitney and Ive both lived in the South most of our lives, so our image source that were pulling these images from is all from our community, these Southern communities. So, this family story has been re-imaged into this Southern space. A lot of the characters end up being a hybrid, people that we know standing in for these characters from Whitneys stories that shes never met or ever had a visual reference for.
So, anyway, the story being told was a real event, but its been distilled by memory and retelling. These are stories that have been told and told and told again. Our work grows out of re-telling these family stories that were highly influenced by environment and our community. Its important to us, as people from the South, that heavy tradition of well-done, southern storytelling.
We try to leave the narratives open so people can bring their own context. Theres information there and theres enough to understand that this is a narrative, there is a story here. What exactly it is its not spelled out. It makes it an open text and an open experience for anybody, hopefully.
Your video work has a finished, pristine quality. Do you need to work with a crew during production to achieve that?
Most things I end up doing with really, really small crews. Aside from the actors in this, it was essentially just Whitney and myself and a friend of mine who we shoot a lot of stuff together. He was there as a technical person, operating a camera on couple shots we needed two cameras on. It was a skeleton crew.
On the post end, I do all the editing. I like working that way because you have total control of everything. Its not like film where you have to relinquish a good bit of control. For it be successful, you really have to do that for bigger narratives. I tend to shy away from that because, well, its sort of selfish but I like to have my hand in everything. I like to operate the camera and I like to direct. Its not a typical way of working in the narrative film world.
Past. Perfect. Continuous. runs at Whitespace until May 15. Micah and Whitney Stansell will give a talk on Sat., May 8 at 3 pm.
different city parks do different things, I think keeping the fulton county diamond, or the…
"The Coming Medicaid Cost Explosion" _______________________________ Right has been running around like Chicken Little for…
QM, you have commandment 5 wrong. It should read: Thou shalt not kill except it…
yeah, because Grant Park is miles away and isn't a park
""She admitted that she was drinking and driving,' attorney Jackie Patterson told reporters following her…
I thought Ted had "commented" on the development shortly after it happened, although the response…