Aaron Higgins - Comp3 (terra)

2:54, 2009, Video Art
"comp3 (terra)" is a video piece from the "Matter of Process" body of work created in 2009. The work seeks to merge the sensibilities of painting with those of time based media such as video. It explores the creative process as a collaboration between the artist and his work. Through this process and use of new media the subject matter of art is focussed upon itself. Concern for symbolism, iconography, and the literal narrative is replaced by an engagement with abstract form and consideration for the color and texture of sound. The work aims to capture a certain painting-like aesthetic, but also exceeds the communicative boundaries of the purely aesthetic into a much broader communication with the sublime.
DirectorAaron Higgins


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Who is Aaron M Higgins?
I am an artist currently living in Bloomington, Indiana. My background is in Painting and I presently work with digital media and video.

Your film is about?
My film is an expression about the creative process and the act of creation. I look at the creative process as a collaboration between myself and the medium. Exploring ideas of abstract expressionism, inside of editing software I further manipulate the footage to resemble an altogether different space and illusion than that of the original. Thinking purely of space, color, and movement of form, I compose my video as if it were, in a sense, a moving, time-based painting which does not rely on the cinematic structure of plot, character arc, beginning, middle, a climax or an end. I work to develop a sense of the “mark” in drawing, or the “stroke” in painting with my video, as well as the feeling of glazed color possible with oil paint and a sense of the painter’s light.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
When I returned to Indiana University to pursue an MFA in digital art I was mentored by video artist, Arthur Liou, who inspired me to work with video as an artistically expressive medium.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts and what is important to you?
I have always been interested in the random elements that sometimes emerge in my work which have the effect of enhancing an overall aesthetic that I am working toward. Whether it is a painting or a video there always seems to be a series of unexpected moments, like tiny discoveries, that occur to help serve this purpose as the work takes on a life of its own. When these moments arise I do my best to collaborate with them and allow their influence. They usually occur when I am lost in the act of creating and have let myself relax into a more intuitive state of action. Working digitally, with time-based medium, I have found myself trying to use my footage and source files much like I would use my paints when painting. I am intrigued with the act of painting, the physicality of the medium and the challenges it presents. Manipulating paint onto a surface fascinates me and often is the true narrative behind the work. By layering and layering my footage, I blend both image and time as a painter might blend colors on a canvas working edge into edge.

Where do you get your ideas or influences from?
This video in particular was inspired by the American Abstract Expressionists and Action Painters, such as Jackson Pollack. Pollack approached each new painting as a collaboration between himself and the painterly material. The paint became an active participant in the creative process. It is this dialog that he has with the painting, as a free and almost equal being, that makes his painterly process so exciting and psychologically interesting to me. Working with oils and oil based paint, I manipulate the materials on a panel under the camera to record my source material.

How does content relate to the form of your work?
In this case the medium, for the most part, is the content. Viewing technology as an extension of our perception, I have focused the subject matter of art upon itself. Concern for symbolism, iconography, and the literal narrative is replaced by an engagement with abstract form and consideration for the color and texture of sound. The viewer brings the remainder to the work as each of us has our own experiences and background to draw interpretations from as they relate to us individually.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Sound is a very important piece to the overall experience. I create my own sound. I work to develop an ambient sound that relates to the imagery over time but does not compete with it or detract from it. I try to reach a symbiotic balance between image and sound.

How do you finance your projects (by yourself, sponsors or subsidy)?
To date, I have personally financed all of my projects.

Nowadays everyone with the right equipment can create videoart, good, bad or ugly?
Any piece of equipment is just a tool.

Video broadcasting platforms on the internet, why or why not?
Why not?

What is your next project about?
I have turned my attention to op art. Right now I am in the beginning stages of working with moire patterns, animating them to see what secondary effects might be created through the interaction of the image and its mode of display, i.e. A monitor or television.


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