Liz Deschenes was one of the artists that caught my interest during the presentation, and while researching on her artworks at the library, I came upon one of her pieces named ‘Green Screen’ that I found in the book What is a Photograph? written by Carol Squiers. It is an installation piece that had been exhibited in the Galerie Nelson in Paris, 2002, and was provided as an example supporting one of the collaborating artists of the book, Hito Steyerl, who explained the translation of digital influences of images and its growing danger on the modern day society.
As suggested by its title, the installation is a large sheet of vivid green paper starting from the top of the exhibition wall and trailing down to roll across the ground in an attempt to mimic the use of an actual green screen. Since green screens are usually backdrops that are used in post-production to incorporate special effects, they are not visible to the public and are considered as useful tools that get to be cropped out. However, Deschenes’ installation makes the green screen a subject in itself and acts as the primary focus of the space. She evokes this complex, interesting relationship of the image-making process by placing the green screen, a tool, as the centerpiece when in truth, it is not shown in the final product of any image or video. The act reveals a defiance of the technology and probes a hole into the world of the seemingly perfect visual motifs scattered on the internet. Liz Deschenes’ work supports Hito Steyerl’s argument about the growing influence of digital media and technology into our reality.
What really interested me in this work in particular is the way in which it was set. The right wall catches the eye easily due to its grandeur and bright colour, while the left wall depicts two photographs of the same subject. This might be Deschenes’ way of dictating a relationship between sculpture and photography, and thus gives the viewer a full experience of the green screen as though the latter was a subject matter in itself, where its life-size depiction is also shown through the use of photographs. What seems ironic is that the photographs of the green screen once again, portray what is usually rendered invisible to the public eye, and Deschenes’ photographs bring a certain transparency to the behind the scenes of what goes on behind any kind of image-making and production.
I also noticed some details about the presentation of the piece. The lights shining down onto the artwork seem to be from white lights, and while it may or may not have been the artist’s intention, evokes an uncomfortable feeling due to the reflection bouncing back off the green sheet. It almost feels like a sickly kind of colour and may refer to the artist’s intention in mimicking this growing anxiety of the advancing technological world in the modern society.
While a multitude of her works were displayed in the book, I found this one to be the most intriguing to me. Her artworks are simple yet significant, and maybe it is because of my interest towards colour and minimalism that she appeals to me so much, but I find a peace in the organized and clean, simple way that she executes her artworks.
Source: Squiers, Carol et al. What Is A Photograph?. Prestel, 2014.