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Ella Sowinska: The One on One

A man and a woman hold each other while surrounded by smiling people with phones

Ella Sowinska
The One on One
Film still
Murray Art Museum Albury, 2016
Image courtesy of the artist

In her exhibition The One on One, artist Ella Sowinska examined the modern fascination with romantic reality television, popularised by such shows as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Married at First Sight, If You Are the One and many others.

Her work was an abstract response to the curiosity that many of us share with the intimate lives of others. By eliminating the element of competition inherent in romance reality television, The One on One instead focussed on the first date itself and the absurd act of filming it. It created a self-reflective environment for viewers of the date, mirroring viewers of reality television.

What would you say and do on a first date, if you were being filmed? In all its self-aware, awkward glory, this project formed as dialogue and critique of popular culture and the way we live today.

The One on One consisted of two videos playing simultaneously on plasma television screens. The screens played synchronised footage from one entirety documented first date between two participants engaged from the Albury-Wodonga region. The date is documented through the lenses of two GoPro action cameras strapped to the head of each participant. The participants therefore act as the camera operators and are in control of how their likeness is perceived on screen. The documentation of this date was presented in its uncut form, allowing no intervention through editing.

The videos extend for a period of approximately 2 hours and played on a continuous loop.

Visitors were invited to watch the entire date unfold or to walk in and out of the installation as they please. Visitors to the exhibition were able to view the documentation of the date as if they were standing in between the dating couple.