Layers


A friend of mine took a look at my work in progress, now titled into smithereens (but for how long …) and said, ‘I love the layers’.

Hmm. Hadn’t thought about it like that. She was referring to layers of meaning, but for me, it has no layers of meaning, because it’s linear. So its a layering up of meaning, one after another?

I’ve never spent such a lot of effort on a moving image work before. But since she’s said that, I’ve sumperimposed a poem – another layer – on top of the layers that she felt already existed. This new poem is, for me, more ‘layered’, because it simultaneously competes with the previous work / meanings aleady there. It refracts / infects the meaning of the initial work (I hope).

But there are other layers. Layers in my photoshop files, layers on layers, developed over the months that I have been working on it. I think a still is finished (it’s stop-motion – in a sense), then two weeks later I’m back in it, making a new layer. Many of the layers are ‘turned off’ – invisible, but there, in the .psd file, they exist. Witness to the history of the image.

So layers are about history and technology and aesthetics, all together. That’s layers for you.

I think the limitations of linear work might be summarised in the limit to layering that you eventually reach. If it’s non-linear, its exponential, layers upon layers upon layers, as some famous muppet Swedish cook once said…