Almost always coming back to this
A conversation between James Rollo and Issy Mitchell, Outpost Gallery, 8th February 2018 (15 minutes till opening)
Issy Mitchell: Hey, hi, hello, how are you?
James Rollo: I am fantastic
IM: So what are you ‘almost always coming back to’?
JR: This empty space we’re given (if we’re lucky) to create something. It’s kind of a self-reflective nod to the show itself: you’re given a space to create a work and instead the work is the space itself. It also references this, like, anxiety of creating—this feeling that kind of always rears its head when you’re given a space and told OKAY GO. It’s nervewracking.
IM: I know you enjoy doing site specific works--what was it about the gallery that made you want to create this discordantly humorous horror video/film?
JR: I loved how much character the gallery space had. There was so much going on that it, to me, was a work in and of itself. No matter what else was in the space, the space was a character. And also when I was given this show I had all this anxiety of like oh god what am I going to do. Horror is one of my favourite genres, and I thought I could use that as part of the creative process?
IM: Why are you trying to unsettle the audience?
JR: I wouldn’t so much say unsettle…but more like challenge their engagement.
IM: The TVs play a big role in the show, their size and the quality of the picture-why are they so important? And why was it important that the audience perform for these TVs rather than, say, a projection or smaller TVs?
JR: I wanted to create something that activated the gallery itself while still having such a huge presence. Also fits into a potential narrative of someone going through everything that’s wrong with space itself—it’s not perfect, look at this and this and this and making all these superficial things larger than life—both figuratively and literally. And I liked the idea of someone performing for screens because that’s how people generally behave towards screens. A projection needs to have this dark space and people generally stand still looking at the moving image. A TV allows for someone to walk around the sculptural object while trying to find what the TV is showing them—and if that thing actually exists.
IM: And why 4K?
JR: A few reasons. One: I’ve never used it before and wanted to experiment. Two: they were kind of a necessity of using these super large screens. And three: fits into this super indepth look at the gallery itself. Using 4K allows all these little details a casual observer may not have necessarily seen.
IM: …and your upcoming edition??
JR: IT’S COMING I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU TO GIVE ME SOME MORE TIME (PLEASE)