Owen Kydd is a shortlist candidate for the AIMIA AGO Photography Prize. Exploring the tension between still images and moving videos, his short loops are mesmerizing. It’s less about a bigger narrative, and more about a single moment. An isolated time with these “durational photographs” flickering in a lightbox. Here’s what Kydd told us about his work.
Studio Beat: We’re always interested in artist practice and process as an entry point to the work. What’s the starting point for creating videos? Can you take us through an average day in your studio when beginning a new work?
Owen Kydd: Most of my ideas come from just walking around Los Angeles – you have to get out of the car, it doesn’t work any other way. Los Angeles is so spread out that there is a lot of great in-between space where time slows down a little. I often collect ideas on my iPhone and bring them back to the studio, which really means the computer nowadays right? I collect and categorize, then either go out and reshoot the image, or reconstruct something similar in my studio, or just create it on the computer with animation.
SB: Each image generates a distinct feeling. Which comes first? The image or the feeling. Are you attracted to the image because of the feeling or do you seek images that create that feeling?
OK: You know it “feels” so strange to talk about feelings and art these days, but no one can really deny that pictures evoke them. I would say I just practice selecting images that will create a useful distinction from the world when they reach the wall. But also images that will work well within the performance of photography that I’m making.
SB: In gif culture, what is the relationship between your videos and gifs? Do you consider differences? Similarities?
OK: Gif is a specific code, but the category can stand in for “looping images”. As such I probably make the best quality 4k Gifs I can. I think Gif culture is coming back a bit Post-vine or Instagram. I missed them.
SB: Your work has a meditative quality. It dictates time in an interesting way, more explicitly than a photograph. What is the significance of using movement to make the viewer linger on the image?
OK: I am trying to strip away most of the narrative markers that I can from the moving image so that it then comes to “pre-sent” time (actually reveal the same time that was recorded), rather than “re-present” it. The resulting images can range from somewhat kinetic to the almost still, with the later being more often the case. Some movement is hard to avoid, and it also helps to indicate that time passes, but now I am also making pictures on screens where just the pixels bouncing around are seemingly enough. Maybe I’m in too deep!
SB: How do you edit your images for exhibition? Which videos make the cut?
OK: I try and sit with the pieces in the studio for as much time as possible to see if they take on the proper life of a durational photograph – this takes some time to discern because moving images lean so heavily towards narrativity, they take on a montage with other works, or the environment around them.
SB: Is there anything about your art practice or process that the average art viewer would be surprised to learn?
OK: Good question, maybe that as an artist so wrapped up in video I also make a living printing large-scale photographs? I’ve converted part of the studio into a print-shop with a friend and we make work for other artists and galleries. It keeps up a good pace and energy at the studio.
Visit Owen Kydd’s website here.