[ISEA2011] Panel: Rose­mary Comella – In­dex­i­cal Im­ma­te­ri­al­ity: Pho­tog­ra­phy and Cin­ema in­side the Ma­chine

Panel Statement

Panel: The Madness of Methods: Emerging Arts Research Practices

Grounded in a long­stand­ing in­ter­est in the pho­to­graphic, my artis­tic re­search is partly based around the idea of the in­dex­i­cal­ity of the pho­to­graphic doc­u­ment as a trace of the real and a record of the past. My work at­tempts to probe the ques­tion of whether pho­to­graphic in­dex­i­cal­ity func­tions dif­fer­ently when ex­pe­ri­enced within a mu­ta­ble dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment than in a fixed ana­log one. In this paper, I will pre­sent an analy­sis of sev­eral in­ter­ac­tive new media pro­jects that I have been in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing. These are works of com­puter in­ter­face de­sign that fea­ture both pho­to­graphic and cin­e­matic im­agery in ways that rep­re­sent space, place and time in spe­cific cul­tural con­texts. This analy­sis will draw on the­o­ret­i­cal writ­ings about the in­dex­i­cal in cin­ema, pho­tog­ra­phy, new media and lan­guage by such writ­ers as Roland Barthes, Mary Ann Doane and Ros­alind Krauss.

  • Rose­mary Comella is a new media artist with a back­ground in the vi­sual arts, in par­tic­u­lar in­ter­face de­sign, pho­tog­ra­phy and video. Since 2000 she has been work­ing as a re­searcher, pro­ject di­rec­tor, in­ter­face de­signer and pro­gram­mer at the Labyrinth Pro­ject, a re­search ini­tia­tive on in­ter­ac­tive nar­ra­tive. At Labyrinth, she de­vel­oped the main in­ter­face for Trac­ing the Decay of Fic­tion: En­coun­ters with a Film by Pat O’Neill, a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­ject be­tween ex­per­i­men­tal film­maker Pat O’Neill, Kristy H.A. Kang and the Labyrinth team, and she helped di­rect The Danube Ex­o­dus: The Rip­pling Cur­rent of the River, an in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion with film­maker Peter Forgács. Ad­di­tion­ally, she de­vel­oped Bleed­ing Through: Lay­ers of Los An­ge­les, 1920-1986, an in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion and DVD-ROM, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with media artist An­dreas Kratky, cul­tural his­to­rian Nor­man M. Klein and the Cen­ter for Art and Media (ZKM) in Ger­many. She di­rected and served as pho­tog­ra­pher for Cul­ti­vat­ing Pasadena: From Roses to Re­de­vel­op­ment, an in­stal­la­tion and DVD-ROM, in­clud­ing cat­a­log, ex­hib­ited at the Pasadena Mu­seum of Cal­i­for­nia Art in 2005. Comella is cur­rently cre­ative di­rec­tor for Jew­ish Home­grown His­tory: Im­mi­gra­tion, Iden­tity and In­ter­mar­riage, a pub­lic on-line archive and multi-screen mu­seum in­stal­la­tion that al­lows users to prac­tice their own his­to­ri­og­ra­phy by in­sert­ing their own his­to­ries and mem­o­ries—using text, home movies, pho­tographs and ephemera—into the con­tents of the web­site which in­cludes pre­vi­ously pub­lished his­to­ries and newly up­loaded scholar con­tri­bu­tions.

Full text (PDF) p. 505-510