Duncan Marquiss 12 October 2017

Pattern and Perception


The four works presented here span seven years of my artistic practice; a period in which I tried many different approaches to the moving image. If there is a theme connecting these works, perhaps it is an expanded interest in perception. Be that in the formal experimentation of Renderuin and Late Cinema, or in the more reflective documentary mode of Search Film – which considers how we navigate environments and filter information from our surroundings. Search Film can also be understood as a portrait of a scientist, and as a father-son cross-disciplinary collaboration. Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps continued this documentary strand in my work and also attempts to address the Two Cultures in some sense. Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps comes from my interest in evolution and considers the processes that shape organisms and cultural artefacts respectively. Understanding how a form gets to be the way it is, seems to be a pertinent question for any artist. Perhaps this film is also about analogy, or pattern-based thinking, and the fuzzy boundaries between binary categories such as the 'natural' and the 'artificial'. As an artist, all of these interests are recurring habits and preoccupations for my practice.

Late Cinema (2009)

Shot with a hand-wound 16mm Bolex camera, this work attempts to see a situation from two perspectives at once. Alternating between camera angles every two frames, the film plays with the latency of perception to create translucent after-images in the viewer's eye.  I conceived of the piece whilst hurrying down the path featured in the film, following the filmmaker Kimberley O'Neill (the walking figure in the work). That day we were running late for a screening in a nearby cinema.

Renderuin (2016)

This video was produced as part of a collaborative exhibition with Toby Christian at the Glasgow International Festival in 2016. The exhibition was located in an empty house and featured a number of video loops that projected moving textures onto the interior architecture. This video was presented in a curved alcove thatexaggerated the depth of the image. The work comes from an interest in the simulation of 'natural' or chaotic material textures, and how we read, or value such surfaces. For the soundtrack I made harmonic drones by rubbing sticks against a turntable at different speeds, producing continuous resonant tones from discrete granular percussions. 

Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps​ (2016)

In parallel interviews, the biologists Niles Eldredge and Armand Marie Leroi discuss Eldredge's theory of Punctuated Equilibria (the idea that species evolve in sudden jumps) and Leroi's Darwinian study of revolutions in the history of pop music. Taking in Eldredge’s work on trilobite fossils, his vast collection of brass musical instruments, and Leroi's algorithmic cultural genealogies, the film reflects on the analogies and differences between biological evolution and cultural change.

Search Film (2015)

Search Film follows the artist's father, the biologist Dr. Mick Marquiss as he tracks goshawks, an elusive bird of prey, in rural north east Scotland. The film becomes a search in itself, expanding into a broader conversation on the nature of searching across a variety of contexts, comparing innate foraging behaviour with clothes shopping and internet browsing

About the Author

Duncan Marquiss (b.1979 Scotland) is a Glasgow based artist who works with film & video, drawing, writing and music. Much of his work explores overlaps between the cultural and the biological. His recent documentary work Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps (2016) considered analogies between evolutionary patterns within the fossil record and the cultural evolution of popular music.

Marquiss graduated from the MFA at Glasgow School of Art in 2005 and undertook the LUX Associate Artist Programme, London in 2009. He was the recipient of the Margaret Tait Award 2015-16. Recent exhibitions include Renderuin at Glasgow International Festival 2016 and a solo exhibition Copying Errors at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Recent screenings include Experimenta at the BFI London Film Festival 2016 and Antiphon at the Kochi-Muziris Bienalle, Kerala 2017."

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