This website presents key outcomes, methods, and audio-visual experimentations of the creative practice-based research Motion Within Motion by Azadeh Emadi. The research investigates digital video by weaving together philosophy (Gilles Deleuze on time, Mulla Sadrā Shirazi on substantial motion) and creative practice (video-making) in an attempt to challenge our human-centric perception of the world and consequent understanding of change and transformation in the digital moving-image. It explores the relationship between the video’s minimal parts (i.e. pixels), the image as a whole, and the world outside of the image.
There are two key research questions:
- in digital video practice, how can classical Persian-Islamic and contemporary Western concepts of time and motion help us move beyond the surface of the image to explore transformation and change?
- what role can movement and constant change play in creating new points of view and experiences?
The investigation proceeded through both creative practice works and written articles. The two interweaved, mutually propelling the research as the project developed. This website illustrates this research journey in as linear a manner as possible. It culminates in an in-depth, chronological discussion of the experimental steps taken, linking back to the creative practice works and written outputs to then (re)locate them at the points at which they drove the research.
The webpage Exhibitions: Motion Within Motion, presents the main exhibitions from the research. These selected exhibitions focus on pixels and expose the constant changes within them (in relation to their source videos), which are otherwise invisible to the human eye. They are intended to move audiences beyond the surface of a perceptible image and expose potentially new points of view and perspectives. The page Exhibition Catalogue provides context, presenting an essay on the exhibition and its experience written by an academic and media art critic. Persian Tiles in Dialogue with Digital Tiles contains a peer-reviewed academic article that explores a conceptual connection between Persian tiles and architecture, pixels and moving image, in an attempt to investigate a pixel’s experience of the world. It does so by introducing the theory of ‘substantial motion’ (al-harakat al-jawhariyya) by Persian-Islamic philosopher, Mulla Sadrā Shirazi (1571-1641), and engaging with the process philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Reconsidering the Substance of Digital Video, another peer-reviewed article, brings Sadrā’s concepts of time and motion together with the thoughts of Deleuze and media theorists in order to investigate the substance of digital video and its indexicality, as well as time and motion in digital moving image. The discussion in this article is underpinned by the practice process and outcomes.
Concluding the piece is Research Process and Practice. Constituted of three pages, it joins the concept of Substantial Motion with digital video and the creative investigation. This includes a discussion of the process that lead to the development of the Pixel Picker software. This extended final section outlines how, as the research developed, aspects such as invisibility, time, and change that originate from Sadrā’s ontology were explored through a series of videos, exhibitions, and installations. This practice, in turn, further enriched and refined the theoretical concerns arising in the crossover between classical Persian-Islamic and contemporary Western concepts which were explored in the written articles. A selection of digital works, mostly exploratory, are discussed in chronological order to illustrate this interweaving investigative process. The reader is invited to return, via embedded links, to the creative practice and scholarly articles of the preceding pages, at relevant points, should that prove helpful.
For the optimum performance of videos, it is recommended to view the site on a computer.
I am a screen production lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. As a researcher and media artist, who dwells in the space between Eastern and Western cultures, my research is underpinned by a deep interest in creating dialogues between these diverging worldviews through developing cross-cultural approaches to new media arts and studies. This interest is driven by a curiosity to find creative solutions to socio-political and environmental issues. Hence, my scholarly and creative research, which follows a practice-as-research method, explores new ways of seeing that questions our habitual understanding of the world. To perceive from other entities’ points of view and experiences can enhance and expand our own perception, which, in turn, enlarges our understanding of the interconnected matrix of all entities.
I am also co-founder of the Substantial Motion Research Network, which was developed from the aforementioned interests and related activities. Substantial Motion Research Network, established in June 2018, is an online platform that brings together interested international artists and scholars across the globe for an intercultural study of new media and international collaborations. It is also a site for online publications, symposia and exhibitions.
You can contact me at: Azadeh.Emadi@glasgow.ac.uk