Improvised photographs series.

Mark Z – violin – 4 minutes

“Mark Z – violin – 4 minutes”


This project provides a space in which improvisers can play, creating dual documentation of this time in image and music. On that space is placed a non-musical constraint, namely using an improvised performance to create a long-exposure photograph. Viewing this space and the images/music created, the effects of this constraint are investigated.

A pinhole camera is placed near an improviser and a photograph is made of them performing. The length of the improvisation is roughly determined by an exposure time that is appropriate for the film/camera/lighting combination, generally between 2 and 6 minutes.

A pinhole image has a much longer exposure time than a lensed camera, and in lower light situations an image must be built up over minutes. During these extended times, a relatively brief movement will not appear if performed on its own, but may become visible if many similar movements are made. For example, a single note bowed slowly on a stringed instrument will not appear, but a suggestion of that movement may be seen if one hundred notes are similarly bowed.

If images and music are to be satisfying, an improviser has to think about their physical movements in space and time, i.e. in four dimensions, as much as about their musical material. There is no need to play the same thing monotonously to build an image, instead groups of diverse movements/musical gestures that occupy similar spaces repeatedly could be employed. Conversely, an improviser could decide to be seen as little as possible, in which case they might make movements that rarely share the same space.