Myth and Meaning in the Digital Age

TR Flaxton

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


‘Myth and Meaning in the Digital Age’ began as a commission by Channel 4 and the Arts Council of England in 1988. A friend had created a programme to open the French/German satellite Arts Channel, La Sept, in which he examined the ideas of Walter Benjamin’s 1936 essay, the Object of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Jon Wyver’s work was titled: L’Objet D’art, a l’Age Electronique’ and featured the French theorists Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virillio who argued that the image was losing all meaning through its ubiquity. I wrote to Channel 4 to ask for the funds to answer the charge and they responded with the Arts Council by giving me £20,000. I made a 20 minute work entitled ‘The Inevitability of Colour’ which was shown on Channel 4 in 1990. My argument was basically that images are not free from self as self attributes significance. I used the device of a set of dialogues to primarily answer Baudrillard, (from various positions including angel, philosopher, scientist) where ‘colour’ was analogous to meaning, plus I used a Greek Myth to suggest further understanding if one were to look further than processes that involved ratiocination. This was the myth of Echo and Narcissus and I posed Echo as sound and Narcissus as image and discussed their contemporary manifestation as sound and image within an editing timeline which appeared in television, cinema , art gallery and museum. Shortly afterwards I staged an argument between Echo and Narcissus (Part 2: Echo’s Revenge) which showed at the Tate Britain and then created a third work from Narcissus point of view whilst fascinated by the pool on Mount Helicon (Part 3: The Object of Desire). This work premiered at the 1992 Bonn Biennale as the Colour Trilogy. As time went on I constructed 4 other parts (including Echo’s Compassion) which became the Colour Myths and by 2010 I had made a 70 minute long-form single screen artwork with around 20 sections. Over time and due to the work I was doing within my Creative Research Fellowship, issues around portraiture and eventually, self-portraiture became significant in my construction of the work. Some of the 20 sections are ‘confessional’ where the camera is turned upon myself. The eventual work is titled Myth and Meaning in the Digital Age and was premiered at the Salisbury Arts Center to an audience of 200 during a month long one person show in October 2010. I will be constructing a critical reflection on this work (when the dust has settled) in the form of an article for Journal of Media Practice. In exhibition, this work is displayed on a large scale cinema screen.
Translated title of the contributionMyth and Meaning in the Digital Age
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSalisbury Arts Center
Media of outputScreening
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium: Single Screen Digital Artwork
Event title: Salisbury Arts Center
Other: Began in 1989, coming to fruition in 2010 due to my Creative Research Fellowship


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