Portraits of the Arrow Tower, Beijing

TR Flaxton

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


‘Portraits of the Arrow Tower, Beijing’ was formulated to explore the core research question that was part of the original AHRC bid for my 2007 Creative Research Fellowship: ‘In what ways will High Resolution Imaging change the work produced in the convergence of art and visual technologies and consequently, our experience of that work?’ To answer this question I formulated the idea of ‘Quantum Resolution’ which proposed that audience immersion deepens with quantum as opposed to quantitative increases of resolution – that is the effects of deeper immersion would be felt with larger increases of resolution rather than incremental increases of resolution. Initially I formulated 3 practice as research portfolios as differing strategies to uncover the effects (if any) of increased resolution. These three were a) to examine everyday moving images of the world immediately around oneself, b) examine iconic moving images of the world and c) examine human portraiture and by way of this examine ideas around the human gaze. I argued that each work would be a building block in a developing argument to examine my hypothesis and that all of the works would be presented together in a major exhibition as the overall thesis – this occurred in December 2010 in collaboration with University of Westminster in their London P3 Gallery. ‘Portraits of the Arrow Tower, Beijing’ is the 7th work of the 3rd Portfolio which had as its base idea to investigate the re-presentation of the human portrait in front of an iconic object or landscape. The images were shot at 4k resolution (some 4 times the resolution of High Definition). This work was part-funded by a Vice-Chancellors innovation award. I became involved with a community in Beijing and put out a call for local people to be photographed in front of the Arrow Tower and convened a shooting period and asked the portraitees to stand still for 1 minute as a reference to early photographic exposure times where holding still was an important part of photography and portraiture. I also asked each portraitee to bring something that spoke about who they were or what they did in life – this is a reference to portraiture in general from 16th century onwards. This work was first presented at the P3 Gallery in London alongside 18 other works, 7 of which were portraiture works and ran for two weeks. Also, the series of works this work is within have been shot in New York, the Uk and Italy and subsequently I have spoken of the research outcomes in articles and papers at various international conferences. In exhibition, this work is displayed 20 foot x 10 foot so that the subjects are life sized. At the P3 exhibition in 2010, 6 projects were displayed as a 60 foot triptych with people represented from around the world.
Translated title of the contributionPortraits of the Arrow Tower, Beijing
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVarious (1st Exhibition, London)
Media of outputInstallation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium: High Resolution Digital Installation
Event title: Various (1st Exhibition, London)
Other: Part of the 3rd Practice as Research Portfolio from the 2007 - 2010 AHRC Creative Research Fellowship


Dive into the research topics of 'Portraits of the Arrow Tower, Beijing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this