Trotter, P. (2013). Psychic counterpoints: Participatory realist documentary and printmaking as thwarted war romance, longing and desire. L. Morgan. 470-475. Australia: Monash University Press.
For Gilles Deleuze, contemporary cinema is a cinema of time that produces ‘an image of thought,’ as a process that can’t be summed up into a rational whole. Rosalind Krauss states that contemporary visual artists combine their forms with other mediums such as film to create similar psychological meanings for their work.
This paper will focus on the art piece titled ‘Looking for Charlie,’ (2011) where I combine participatory realist documentary with printmaking to create psychological “time-images” for my viewers. ‘Looking for Charlie’ is a work where under the permission of my grandmother, I endeavoured to find the American soldier named “Charlie” with whom she has been in love with since he was stationed in Melbourne during World War Two.
The first part of this paper explores how I used these mediums in order to immerse myself into the emotions of my own grandmother. Contemporary documentary filmmaker John Safran and Surrealist artist Claude Cahun’s work are analysed as comparisons, particularly Safran’s immersion into the guises of other people within his ‘Race Relation’s’ series (2009).
A Google and Ancestry.com search to find Charlie is then discussed in terms of the prints that I made for the exhibition. I compare this installation to aspects of Jean Pierre Jeunet’s film ‘Amelie from Monmarte,’ and the documentation of fragments taken from other people’s lives in the work of photo-conceptualist artist Sophie Calle to show how this art piece mirrors the notion of reversing traditional roles of the active male gaze and the passive female object of desire. The results of the search for Charlie are then discussed in terms of Jacques Lacan’s “Rat in the Maze” theory to detail the emotions people experience regarding thwarted romance, and to explore the ethics associated with my searching for, and the presentation of the findings regarding Charlie.