Traion is a series of installations by Maryclare Foá and Birgitta Hosea, collaborating together as Foá+Hosea. The works are inspired by Pliny the Elder's legend, in which the daughter of a potter takes a piece of charcoal and traces around the shadow of her departing lover. Many art historians consider this apocryphal tale of freezing time and presence through charcoal to be the beginning of Western traditions of representational art.
In this Traion series still images are contrasted with moving animation based on traced photographs or videos. Foá+Hosea engage with the impossible dilemma of attempting to hold time through fixing their digital shadows in place with animation. In the title of the series, the words ‘trace’ and ‘motion’ are merged to reference their process of drawing over film, in which evidence of presence and motion is traced.
Being not present yet maintaining some evidence of presence references Emmanuel Levinas’s idea of absence and presence. Levinas observed how those who no longer exist bodily in the world, leave behind them a physical evidence of their presence. As Derrida in his re-reading of Levinas tells us, ‘ He will not have been (a) present but he will have made a gift by not disappearing without leaving a trace’ (Jacques Derrida in Re-Reading Levinas, 1991).
Traion I (Ferme) (2014)
Created for the exhibition Dans ma cellule, une silhouette, curated by Lore Gablier for the Centre d’Art Contemporain, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, the first work in the series consists of two life size drawings that were traced around the outlines of the artists themselves. Over the still drawings is projected an animation based on film footage of the two artists pacing around in a continuous loop. The animation spills over the edges of the paper, defying the boundary of a frame as the artists attempt to hold time still.
Setting up in the gallery
Read more about the work and the exhibition: http://expandedanimation.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2014/02/07/traion-i-ferme/
Traion II (Train) (2014)
In this short looped film designed for installation, movement is explored on multiple levels. Two figures are seated in a train carriage while landscape appears to pass outside the window.
The movement of the figures is the result of the motion of an actual train - the artists took turns to draw around a photograph of themselves in a train carriage while actually in the carriage, thus the movement of the train itself distorted the outlines they were trying to draw and when a series of these images are played back an illusion of movement is created. This is an extension of the method used by William Anastasie as he created drawings from the motion of the New York subway.
The scenery in the backgrounds was created through spontaneous markmaking while walking past very long sheets of paper. This was then divided in three depths and animated as a multiplane. The drawing of the carriage stays static throughout.
Read more about this work and other thoughts on trains and mobility in the chapter, 'Off the Rails: Animating Train Journeys' by Birgitta Hosea in Animated Landscapes: History, Form and Function, Bloomsbury, ed. Chris Pallant.
Traion III (Folkestone) (2014)
This animation installation was shown as part of the SEeAFAR exhibition, curated by Birgitta Hosea for Folkestone Triennial Fringe and Deptford X.
In this work a projection of the artists' animated facsimiles restlessly searches across a series of still drawings of different methods of transport.
Read more about the exhibition: http://expandedanimation.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2014/10/30/documentation-of-seeafar/
Traion IV (Coventry) (2014)
This single screen digital drawing loop was created for the Drawologyexhibition curated by Deborah Harty at Lanchester Gallery, Coventry.
Traion IV (Coventry) retells the phrase ‘being sent to Coventry’', which describes an individual who is ostracised by others, in effect ignored as though not present. In this work Foá+Hosea examine and mark this sense of absent presence through an animated trace. On a train journey, the artists send each other to Coventry. Their images are seperated into different frames, each with its own pattern of motion.
The online catalogue for Drawology is available here.
Read more about the work here: https://drawntogether.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/drawology-2/