Kingsmead Eyes

The use of multi-media here does enforce a much more structured viewing than would be the case with just straight photography, even given that a simple gallery would in all likelihood be accompanied by the children’s text. In his feedback of an earlier assignment of mine my tutor, David Wyatt, mentioned he would have preferred to be able to stop and view the images rather than have to follow a fixed slideshow, as I had created. Although the initial project video from 2009 (http://gideonmendel.com/kingsmead-eyes/)is very engaging, it does force the viewer into a very specific sequence that is perhaps not necessary given the multiple voices being shown.

Although the same is true of the later video from 2011 (also http://gideonmendel.com/kingsmead-eyes/), the same work is on display at http://www.kingsmeadeyesspeak.org/ but in a different format. Here each child is featured as a separate item, giving the viewer the option to look through the work in any order. In addition the work of each child is shown as both a video with sound, or as a series of still images with captions. I found this to be both a friendlier way to view the work, bit at the same time more fragmented. It does help to add a greater sense of identity to each child but does slightly dissipate the overall effect of the single video approach.

These are really only minor observations as the work is strong enough to work in either format. Although the overall piece is under the directorial control of a single voice, Gideon Mendel is very much an invisible presence in the work. By embedding their images and voices within a structured surround, there is a consistency that helps to evoke a sense of community rather than just disparate participants. The surrounding context – whether single video or individual web space – is restrained and sympathetic s that the participants are not swamped by any sense of authorial control.

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