Eavesdropping – with Dr Jane Wildgoose (2021)

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker, Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping consists of a series of cyanotype prints and an animated portrait of artistic collaborator Jane Wildgoose. The project comments on the dynamic relationship between muse and photographer and explores the potential of the cyanotype process to create unique impressions from one negative while exposing the material qualities of paper.

The video evolved from contact-printing multiple times the same negative of a photograph of artist Jane Wildgoose dressed in Edwardian mourning dress, each print creating a unique interpretation of this portrait.

The process of experimenting with original and copy, until copies become originals in their own right, is a continuation from investigations carried out for the projectsThese Pleasures a Wayward Distraction, After the Fall and The Spots That Never Went.

By placing the different interpretations in a timeline, the still images animate, radiating a moving presence, which eventually merges into a video fragment of the same set-up. Text written by Jane Wildgoose, from a live recording of her reading her essay ‘A Visit to the Archives’, accompanies the animation. Here the words, taken out of context, become a comment on the dynamic relationship between muse and photographer, subject and viewer, of watching and being watched. 

The video was developed over a four month period by sharing work-in-progress online followed by discussions between the artists: a slow process based on trust, similar to how the collaborative publication Strong Room evolved.

Eavesdropping is one of several experimental bodies of work developed during an ongoing self-assigned residency at The Queer Hut, a desolate wooden structure on a disused railway track overlooking fields in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Eavesdropping: twenty-five cyanotype prints on Arches Platine, 310gsm, 8.3cm x11cm; high definition video, colour, sound, 1:37 min, 2021. Cyanotype portraits and video of Jane Wildgoose by Roelof Bakker. Text from a live reading by Jane Wildgoose from her essay ‘A Visit to the Archives’ in Strong Room (Roelof Bakker & Jane Wildgoose, Negative Press London, 2014). www.rbakker.com/strongroom and www.janewildgoose.co.uk