Gareth Polmeer

PhD Work

Motion to Becoming: Nature and the Image in Time

This research comprises interrelated elements of video works and a thesis. The philosophy and aesthetics of nature are explored through light and motion in the time-based image. Framed within selected aspects of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy, I explore digital aesthetics, nature and dialectics. This brings new perspectives to the poetics of the image and contributes to a different understanding of the formative influences of nineteenth century aesthetics and twentieth century modernism on contemporary film and video.

I approach these questions from the position of practice, of which the project has two components. Firstly, the representation of natural phenomena is discussed in a number of experimental films and videos, examining selected works in Europe and North America across the last century. The practices focused upon are those where techniques and processes of moving image technologies are brought into critical reflection in the representation of nature (and interests in motion and form). This includes the ways in which photosensitive silver halide crystals on film, electronic signals or pixels are engaged in the material process of the work’s making.

Secondly, the works that I have made focus on the constituent technologies of the videographic image; the progressive scan, pixel, properties of digital colour, compression and display technologies. The technologically mediated image of nature is foregrounded with recordings of the sky, sea and terrain explored through system-based processes. The outcomes reflect a dialectical theory of knowledge in the experience of landscape and the human relation to nature. The video works have made present, in sensuous form, the transient ideas accorded to nature in the theories and concepts defined. The relations of practice (video works) and theory (the thesis) are dialectical, where both components interrelate, reflect and determine one another.

Supervisor: A L Rees


  • PhD


    School of Communication


    Visual Communication, 2010–2015

  • My works develop convergences between aesthetic experience, natural phenomena and digital colour through the ephemeral optics of the pixel. New images develop in combinations of recorded material with digitally generated colour, system-based approaches to composition, layering and spatial/temporal reconfigurations. In varying ways these images (as flowing and transient) make momentarily visible the very transient phenomena they aim to represent.