penryn town hall event
Penryn town hall discussion event with Delpha waiting on the left to speak


VOX POPULI at Electronic village Galleries : Vid-documentation project, 2011

Film project as conversational documentation for Electronic Village Galleries,.


Using ‘vox pop’ style interviews negotiated with the public at each event, audiences were quizzed on which digital work they most like or dislike, and why. Without giving them time to think over their reaction to the work, or prepare a reply (as the initial response and the first answer is usually the ‘right’ one).

Contrary to the usual use of ‘vox pops’ and ‘sound bites’, each ‘vox pop’ will be edited to camera, with one ‘take’ only. Each interview clip will act almost as a ‘sound bite’, as both vox pops and sound bites operate in similar ways; they are tightly edited to capture the essence of what the speaker is trying to say, or give a particular view. Without production control they are more like ‘found’ sound’ or footage. Whilst sound and image will be negotiated through the dialogue between the videographer/interviewer, it will not be controlled or edited by the production process. The footage will be then shown on the internet.

Video ‘stills’ are often used to document performance works. Images selected from thousands of frames are often beautiful, or disturbing, used to capture a moment, or sum it up. They become ‘image as event’, with no relationship to the veracity of the event or performance. Video and digital art deals with concepts of ‘ ‘real time’ and ‘veracity’, whilst distorting through replication, simulation and facsimile.

In contrast moving image and sound are ‘snapped up’ in time, implying a differentiated authenticity to the moment captured. Digitally frenetic, our lives (if we have good broadband connections) can be filled with such ‘authentic’, often humorous moments. Increasingly this style or sense of authenticity is used in mainstream video and film media. VOX POPULI is translated as ‘the voice of the people’ and is used in its short form in media and television as the ‘vox pop’. Usually the interviewees are shown in public places, giving spontaneous opinions in a chance encounter, giving the impression that it is an accurate representation of public views. Because the results of such an interview are unpredictable, and there may be a hidden agenda vox pop material is usually edited down very tightly.

Read more about the EVG project.

Look at other projects that used interviews (vox pops) or conversations as art.