It is clear that through discussions and critiques, even students on lower level programmes have branched away from the traditional consideration of the screen and tried to make the viewer more aware of their relationship with the medium, rather than simply passively staring at it.

The following is a small collection of quite powerful work by students. Each has a brief explanation of the context and also hints at their application for your course or unit.


A recent installation at a Church provided a unique space for students to use the building as a screen. The positioning of the image helped Nick Mays create a site specific work that needed the building to become the screen. His work involved taking images of the viewer and then presenting themselves back again. This plays strongly on Lacan’s view of the screen as the mirror. Because of the scale of the faces and the metaphoric God-like positioning over the altar, there are also suggestions of the spectator being the all-powerful and omnipotent camera within traditional cinema.

Screen of a dream Creative Ways of Using Screens for Art Students

An installation about sleep and dreams spurred Jamie Hoy to produce a very specific screen.

The film borrows from Warhol’s Sleep film from 1963, where the audience becomes a voyeur of someone sleeping and feels the same guilt or intimacy this might induce. In Warhol’s work there is just one person and different people might respond in different ways, yet Jamie Hoy’s work presents a lot of people, some of whom we might be fine to watch sleep, but with others we would be less comfortable.  Overall though, it is the consideration of the screen as central that makes the work so strong.

He wanted the screen to play an active role and be part of the work rather than just something on which to project. He doesn’t try to pretend and make something appear as though it is there, as in many gimmicky aspects of video art. He wants the audience to reflect on their position in relation to the images on the screen.

By placing the screen inside a life-size coffin structure, Billy Nicholson is also generating a discussion about the screen as mirror. If it is acting as a mirror, then are we literally seeing a body through the screen? The dimensions of the work and positioning of the screen really emphasise this corporeal relationship. It also focuses attention on the idea of our position as spectator as the face in the screen is looking directly at the viewer. This is the same technique some Hollywood directors employ to break the suspension of disbelief when the actor looks directly at the camera to narrate something. Yet Billy Nicholson adds to the sense of realism by our experience of someone actually being inside the box.

Creative Ways of Using Screens for Art Students


With almost every mobile and digital camera being able to shoot video now, we really encourage you to explore this medium with your students regardless of what their specialism is. Even if at first it doesn’t appear obvious how you might integrate it into your course, simply having developed some video skills will be really beneficial for students in any discipline.

Fashion students could project on to costumes or backdrops of fashion shows, 3D students could enhance spaces with moving images, painting students could project half their painting on to a canvas and paint the rest. The possibilities are really exciting.

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Editor for Pearson Portfolio.