Douglas Gordon

The work of Douglas Gordon has been influential in the video works that I am creating at the moment, below are two examples of works that have been of particular relevance in my practice.

24 Hour Psycho 1993

This piece is possibly one of Gordon’s most well known. In it he slows down the classic Hitchcock film ‘Pyscho’ so that it plays out over a 24 hour time period, in doing so challenges our relationship with it by removing it from an original setting of tension but instead appealing to our memory and how this affects the way that we watch and wait for the film to unfold. Regarding this piece Gordon writes:

“I was concerned above all with the role of memory. While the viewer remembers the original film, he is drawn into the past, but on the other hand also into the future, for he becomes aware that the story, which he already knows, never appears fast enough. In between, there exists a slowly changing presence.”


An important element of this work for me and my practise is how he manipulates ready-made video footage in order to explore the affect of context. Appealing to a memory of the film, his work draws attention to the way that video is able to challenge our perception of time – appealing strongly to both past and present, and a vulnerability to manipulation that allows for our experience of time to be challenged.

I Remember Nothing 1994


This text installation is another extension of Gordon’s exploration of memory, context and meaning. The installation comprises of sets of individual words scattered across a wall, the phrases consist of the basic sctructure of a sentence, subject, object and verb.
Writing about this piece, Kristina Brown (2004) observes:

“Each  element when read instantly implies another – the subject a verb, the verb an object – typically foregrounding an inter-dependent relationship. Despite their separation the words insist upon coming together through the act of reading, on accumulating meaning.”

This for me is a powerful illustration of how we relate to meaning (particularly in text), and even when disrupted, there still is a powerful attempt to draw out meaning. In my work, I am interested in how introducing an element of chance in the relationship between the words can interrupt meaning, how the removal of order and structure changes the relationship we have with the words both individually and together.


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