I was unfamiliar with Geoffrey Aldridge’s work until I visited his studio in mid-December 2010. Aldridge is a Washington, DC-based (Logan Circle) artist who currently works in video. During our conversation he made the useful distinction between “props” and “materials”. One such material is the the green screen. Using a green screen the artist is able to transpose video of himself, shot in his studio, with video shot at a different location (or any video). The effect is capable of producing images which are quite realistic, where the combination of two separate videos is by appearance a seamless, convincing combination. Aldridge is interested in the delimiting ability of green screen production. Green screen production is particularly suited to creating non-descript, generic non-spaces. During my visit we watched a video in which Geoffrey spins slowly among a cluster of shiny objects.
As for the distinction between “props” and “materials,” what I make of it is this: whereas “props” connotes or suggests theater, a kind of sanctioned fakery, “materials” suggests a greater, more pronounced intentionality on the part of the artist. Aldridge’s work is performative and intimate work but it is not strictly an intimate document of a performance. Nonetheless, such a document will have been created in the service of the larger project as a material. Aldridge is his own audience throughout the making of these newer works, both within the works (he described a work in which he has a conversation with himself) and as editor of the work (he spoke about the need to work with the software, to submit to the editing process with eyes anew, to deny his ego, to re-figure the work he has put into the project up to the point of editing). There is an equalization of actions both in front of the camera and behind it in this work. All are material.
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