One of the works nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, an annual award given out to the best British visual artist, is a short film that was shot on an iPhone.
Shortlisted Scottish artist Charlotte Prodger filmed her video Bridgit on an iPhone. It’s just the latest example of how Apple’s devices can be used by creators to make art.
Embracing the strengths and weaknesses of iPhone
Bridgit is an abstract short film, running 32 minutes in length. The film moves between a variety of settings, including the domestic interior of Prodger’s home in Glasgow to various locations in the Scottish Highlands where Prodger has worked, as well as the travel in between.
What is conceptually interesting about the work — from the perspective of an iPhone user — is that Prodger was interested in the limitations of shooting the handset, compared to the previous limitations of shooting on film. A description of the work notes how:
“For Prodger the iPhone presents a set of rigorous formal parameters not unlike her previous explorations in 16mm. Where 16mm film has a fixed length (eg 100ft rolls), the iPhone has data storage limitations that constrain her shots to roughly 4 minutes in length and under, just slightly longer than a roll of film.
Through image and interweaving narratives the video explores multiple registers of bodily time: the arc of Prodger’s own life; the period of a year she took to make the piece; the real time of industrial and civic transportation; the clockwork rhythm of the medical institution; the temporality of socio-political movements that bridge between individual lives and generations, and the vast time of prehistory.”
Apple’s history with artists
Apple has a long history of its products being used by artists.
Back in the 1980s, artist Andy Warhol was apparently enthralled by the MacPaint feature of the Macintosh when he got a chance to use the computer. He went on to create a tribute acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas painting of the classic Apple logo, which last sold at auction in 2015.
The iPad has also been used to create multiple painted covers for the New Yorker.
Perhaps most notably, the iPhone has been widely adopted by both stills photographers and videographers. The official White House photographer frequently uses an iPhone to snap photos, and Apple has even launched a critically acclaimed billboard campaign to highlight images shot on iPhone.
Meanwhile, filmmakers ranging from Michel Gondry, the director of 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to Steven Soderbergh have all shot films on the iPhone. “I think this is the future,” Soderbergh said at Sundance in January. “I’d have to have a pretty good reason not to be thinking about [the iPhone] first. There’s a philosophical obstacle a lot of people have about the size of the capture device. I don’t have that problem.”