Necrotic biography room

Steans, David ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Necrotic biography room. Pavilion and Leeds Arts University.


The output is a creative project, a two-channel moving image work exhibited as an installation at Pavilion, Leeds. The installation consisted of a 30-minute digital video and a 1-minute 2D animation. Research Process: ‘Necrotic Biography Room’ -- the title refers to a phantasmagorical 'room' frequently alluded to in the script -- developed from two related interests: (i) artworks that 'return to the scene' and (ii) the 'behind the scenes' documentary. An earlier version was exhibited at ‘Library Interventions: Moving Knowledge’, which provided a testing ground. During the first phase, Steans realised the process of filming was as interesting as the ostensible subject, or 'scene', and the very concept of 'behind the scenes' was itself a 'scene'. Subsequently it became a film about the making of itself. Research insights: ‘Necrotic Biography Room’, like Foster's 'traumatic realism' (1996), depends not on a stable dichotomy between the world and the artwork but on interlinked processes of receptive experience and artistic production. The concept 'returning to the scene' helps to figure a privileging of receptive and productive processes, implying agency or action on the part of the artist. ‘Necrotic Biography Room’ also evidences a kind of ‘versioning’, meaning that projects materialise as series of published iterations, each one a singular version and an adaptation of previous ones. Steans likens versioning to Edmond's 'iterative poetics' (2011), with which Edmond describes the work of Caroline Bergvall. Versioning relates to Steans' thinking on horror – it adapts and evolves in a similar way to genres that mutate over time, propagating new subgenres through repetition and difference (Neale 1980; 1985). Dissemination: ‘Necrotic Biography Room’ has been competitively shortlisted and screened at New Flesh residency website; ‘Necrotic Biography Room’, Pavilion, Leeds, 2019; ‘Library Interventions’, 2018.

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