Final Video/Reflection || WEEK 11

How can lacuna be visually explored and represented in the context of public human interaction? Gathering stimulation from the film, sound and comedic techniques of 20th century satirists, depict the empty space we see in the learned tension of societal communication.

Inspired by the works of Charlie Chaplin and Jaques Tati, we’ve decided to use a blank studio space and simplistic props to convey the cautious and stunted nature of strangers interacting. Minimalistic sound and colour, along with static camera angles and no dialogue force the viewer to engage in the awkwardness of the situation. We developed our ideas by viewing human interaction and then choreographing one of our own, dramatising the rigidity and anxiety seen in our actors’ body language. The box is symbolic of the unspoken gaps between strangers; neither party address, but both are aware it is there.


Taking onbaord the constructive feedback from both the tutors and our peers last week, I believe that we were able to finesse our final video into it’s highest potential in regards to the given time frame. We added in some uses of sounds that attempted to explore the moods/themes of waiting, anxiety and discomfort – which were all themes we were really attempting to portray throughout the entire video such as the constant picking of a off-key guitar string. We color graded the video in order to keep the color palette and settings as similar as possible to each scene in order to create a cohesive color palette, and we cropped the video into a square on a black background – very similar to the works of Jacques Tati where it was displayed in a square frame. I learned how to add in a glitch effect, and we thought that since glitches was a technique that we had researched and explored in the earlier weeks within our research, that we could incorporate it within the final video for conceptual and visual effect. The conceptual effect being that we wanted the final video to look almost like a random channel flickering on the television, similar to French comedy television shows such as the ones of Jacques Tati. As human interactions are sometimes forced or sometimes natural, since Sagar and Lanny (in the video) were instructed by us on what to do, it explores the almost choreographed/forced nature of human interactions, whether it be with strangers or friends and family members, almost like a show. And how we choose to react to human interactions between strangers and loved ones is solely up to us as individuals, therefore, altering our future human interactions with others and our situations in life (e.g. Lanny ignoring Sagar falling down whilst she is sitting on the cube – the choosing of ignorance from strangers – we establish people as strangers through the lack of human interactions with certain people).

Draft Video || WEEK 10

After feedback from Mel and Ella, finding out that if we were to set up something within a park it would be quite difficult as we would need to get approval form council that would take us around 2 weeks. So we decided to strip down our idea back to basics and focus on the main core that we have wanted to focus on – which was human interactions. We wanted to keep the color palette minimal, yet quite poetic and abstract.

We booked a photography studio and grabbed 2 people and got them to act out situations that we told them to. Aspects of this was quite humorous and almost absurd. We utilized a cube plinth, and thought that that could be a symbolic gesture of our concept of something that is there but is ignored/un seen. We thought that this was an interesting yet very experimental way to portray our concept of the lacuna which explores the unspoken space between humans that is broken daily through human interactions. At this moment, we kept the video silent as we had not thought of sound yet, but also liked it without it. We were inspired by the Clark Beaumont work ‘Coexisting’ (2013) where 2 strangers were instructed to share a single plinth for 8 hours and that was documented.

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‘Coexisting’ (2013) – Clark Beaumont

Draft Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5JgEBBMtvE1UnVoYVVuc3VWMG8/view?usp=sharing

After getting feedback from the tutors and the class, it was very useful for us to see what we could add in before the final hand-in to better our video. The feedback we received from the tutors and class included the needing of color grading, as it did have a bit of a yellowy tinge and was not as white and crisp as we wanted to be. It was also not shown with our intended cropping method we wanted to utilize where it was a square on a black background. One major component that we needed to work on was sound and that it something we will be focusing on throughout the next week before the hand in, and see how we can utilize it in an effective way. As we had research from the beginning, we have tried our best to incorporate ideas of each group members such as close ups of people, conveying a mood through the use of abstract visuals.etc. however, we will go through the clips and try and incorporate more scenes that we did not use for the draft video.

Due to the humorous nature of our video, Ella suggested we look at the works of Jacques Tati and Koki Tanaka. Tati explores the idea of choreographed actions in order to create a reaction, and to examine the relationship between absurdity and humour. Whilst, the works of Koki Tanaka employs and compliments our idea of using the plinth as Tanaka’s works employs the strange use of objects.

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Monsieur Hulot au bureau – Jacques Tati

Sequence Exegesis || WEEK 9

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Armando Iannucci’s 2009 film ‘In The Loop’ is an almost documentary like film that explores the situation between the UK Prime Minister (Malcolm Tucker) and the US President suggesting to start a war. However, things take an interesting turn of events when Tucker inadvertently promotes the war on television and therefore, attracts and gains a large amount of interest and attention from the US Government.

 

The scene I have decided to focus on the scene where Jamie (Malcolm’s Senior Press Officer and Second-in-command to Malcolm Tucker) destroys the fax machine after suspecting somebody within his office had leaked a document. Evidently, Jamie is extremely angry, however, the scene is shown within a hysterical, humorous and almost absurd context. The documentary like filming of the panning shot without cuts from the printer to his employees provides the viewer with a point of view perspective, making them feel part of the scene. The comedic dramatic sense is also heightened with the opera singing sound element used within the background whilst Jamie is destroying the fax machine. Whilst humorous, it emphasises the seriousness of the action and how it may damage Jamie’s career. Iannucci’s use of continuous panning shots along with fast movements following Jamie walking around the office, only cutting to close up shots of the fax machine, worsening in condition and developing more damage. Through the use of these camera angles and movements, it heightens the sense of chaos and agitation. The fax machine could be seen as a symbolic representation of Jamie’s mental state, emotions, career and current situation. Similar to the rest of the film, the color palette within most scenes are quite cohesive, possessing a sense of calmness with the soft off-yellow, which is not seen so much when showing Jamie’s face (possibly showing a sense of contrast of different emotions, or contrast to the chaotic outburst of Jamie’s actions within a less-busy background/setting). I believe that this scene was a great reflection of the film as it is humorous and portrays the ideas of absurdity, and plays on the ideas of miscommunication and the effects of it, which is one of the main reoccurring themes of which this film is widely about, as Tucker miscommunicated his thoughts pointing towards backing a war, and whilst the fax machine could be interpreted in a symbolic manner of the situations of miscommunication can lead to o a largely global scale by politicians.

Finalization/Updates || WEEK 8

As the final hand in date draws closer, we have decided that the group would be better off if we all met together and attempted to film together in order to create a cohesive production that incorporates everyone’s desired ideas and aspects, instead of working individually and putting clips together or splitting the group into pairs. This week, we really decided to focus on the feedback provided back to us from the previous week from Mel and Ella and decide finally to choose how we wanted to represent our concepts and visions and definitions of the lacuna in a experimental yet artistic and abstract way. In the last group meeting, we brainstormed some interesting ideas that we could possibly explore and document.

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Idea 1: Setting up a stand in a local park with a disposable camera and allowing strangers to take photos on it. This breaking down the barriers of human interactions between strangers, and strangers allowing others to enter their personal space/lives for a brief moment.

Idea 2: Placing an authorative sign (something similar to a NO SMOKING or NO LOITERING sign) in a high traffic area and record to see how strangers react to it, whether they obey it or not. We thought this idea would be an interesting way to explore the spaces shared by the public and how we are told to act/behave within a space.

Idea 3: Setting up a clothes line in a park, and hanging intimate apparel/garments (i.e. underwear, bras .etc) and documenting how strangers react to it, work around it.etc. We thought this idea would be a great way to signify the exposing of one’s personal space to the public, therefore, their daily lives – emotions, feelings.

Sound Exploration || WEEK 7

This week was quite interesting as we explored the use and importance of sound and utilizing it within a creative and interesting way in order to heighten a visual experience. The pre-work we needed to do for this week was to explore a sound project. I chose the work “Lowlands” by Susan Philipsz.

 

It was an interesting piece of work that interested me as the techniques used within both the visuals and the effects of the used sounds were able to make me interpret the work in a much deeper sense. The gospel like/echo-y singing was quite eery, which was interesting when it contrasted to the visuals of everyday life. On top of that, the use of water shots created an almost reflective quality, which could be interpreted in a deeper sense in terms of consciousness, reflection of one’s self or a concept. I interpreted the work as an experiment exploring sound bouncing off enclosed areas (e.g. space under a bridge – not completely enclosed but it echoes sounds). I enjoyed how it was visually minimal, yet abstract through the use of sound.

 

The in-tutorial exercise was a useful experiment and indicator of what we could possibly use for the final video. We chose to use the sound recording application ‘Audacity’ and we recorded various sounds and layered them on top of each other. It was almost like a mini auditory narrative – as we recorded sounds that could evoke the mood of anxiety and discomfort – which was something we were looking at possibly exploring within our concept. However, after talking with Mel, he suggested that it would be more interesting to focus on one sound solely – in particular the breathing. After today’s exercise, we thought it would be best to focus on minimal sounds that have an aspect of uniqueness in order to convey our ideas of anxiety and discomfort through human interactions.

 

The link to our final sound loop/clip: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5JgEBBMtvE1eWxFNlE3c0QzVms

 

Updates || WEEK 6

Over the past few weeks, our group has been able to establish a really strong concept and in terms of what techniques each member of the group were interested in exploring and possibly utilising for the final film. After the presentation and Mel and Ella’s feedback, over the next few weeks, we will aim to explore each techniques and try and find times to possibly meet up all together and hopefully film some footage together to explore different techniques and hopefully narrow it down as Mel did mention that there was a large amount of techniques that if all put together, might be a bit overwhelming/overdone. It was very useful seeing Mel’s perspective and for us to narrow down a focus on doing a fewer elements in a much more refined way. Over StuVac, we decided it would be best to attempt and explore and further research out our techniques that we were interested in and report back to each other with our findings.

The techniques I chose to explore were the use of mediums (i.e. textures, use of different materials to creature a sense of tactility), and creating a mood through the use of abstract visuals (including spaces).

Texture is a very sense orientated visual, it’s something that you see visually or physically that makes you either think of a certain sense whether it be auditory, tactile, gustatory or olfactory. This is an idea that I found interesting and wish to explore within our project in order to further our intended purpose and idea. I chose the visual reference of a music video by The xx and different short films that I found interesting.

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Angels by The xx (image)

  • Water/oil-like texture incorporated with subtle movements, refracted light and minimal color palette allowing the viewer to create their own interpretation.
  • Interpretive – for the viewer to create connection to the visual
  • Visually simplistic
  • Minimal movement

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“PAINTED” by Duncan McDowall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd2KM3qjcKk

  • Contrasting colors (e.g. black background, focal points)
  • Gives the image/moving image a feeling of movement and touch and associations
    • g. the furry texture – some people might think cozy, soft and smooth or some people might find it uncomfortable

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ANISH KAPOOR ‘DECENSION’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7sx0zsUjP4

Whilst often it is a mixture of heightening and targeting a number of human senses (auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory), it is often the visuals that create the largest impact on a viewer in regards to moving films. Some films/moving images are able to achieve their intended portrayed mood through visuals alone without the help of audio.

 

Runaway by Kanye West

  • Almost minimally visual – almost simultaneous and kinetic movements of the ballerinas from different angles (birds eye view, angled view, frames where not the whole group of ballerinas are shown – fragmented/cut off) –
    • Creating movement within the images/frames
  • Juxtaposing with the empty spaces surrounding them
  • Muted color palette, juxtaposition of textures/surfaces – e.g. the tulle of the ballerina skirts and the hard concrete floor and rusty green wall – creating a somewhat reflective mood, open for interpretation and message of the song.
  • Symbolism – dressed in white compared to the ballerinas in black.
    • Visually rich, abstract and artistic

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#1 – Emptiness” by Duc Thinh Dong https://vimeo.com/114795105

The only audio is from the raw footage itself, the train moving and the wind – the visual is must one frame throughout the whole film. Interesting and impactful decision to add in the caption (would not have had the same effect without the caption). Although the frame is not empty or portraying negative space, it still creates a mood of loneliness, emptiness – cold lighting from city and train lights

Final Project Ideas || WEEK 5

My personal definition of lacuna…

“Lacuna for myself is an empty space, whether physical or psychological which provides an individual or others with a certain feeling, memory, sense or attachment”

My definition explores the connections between individuals and places and the unspoken significance it possesses to that specific individual. An example of this could be a room of a childhood home growing up, moving out and viewing the empty room which is now attached with memories, a sense of nostalgia, and feelings, or packing up a deceased family member or friend’s home.
Through the past few weeks, the development of potential ideas to turn into our concept for our final project have slowly began to present themselves through explorations, both within the group and each group member personally. At this point currently, as the common key words within all of our group member’s definitions are the word ’empty’ and ‘space’. Whether it be physical or invisible, we want to emote a subjective mood that can be interpreted in many different ways by different individuals, we have agreed to keep the final project quite abstract yet minimally sleek and tasteful.

Kinetic Movement || WEEK 4

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This’s week’s tutorial allowed us to explore movement within an interesting way. Kinetic movements, a collection of chain reactions setting off another. Through this, we worked collaboratively with the team before us, in order to decide what our starting reaction would be. We used a variety of smaller based items such as a post tube, mini dictionary and a pin pong ball as our main point of movement. As we needed to add an element of sound, we decided to twist a length of wire and place it in a column, and placed a handful of safety pins – hoping it will rattle as the pin pong ball ran through it.

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Form & Exploration|| WEEK 3

This week, Ella and Mel assigned each group to create a structure of some sort in order to project light onto it and capture an image. I personally found this exercise interesting as it was a different/experimental and hands on approach for creating ideas and inspiration. Our group decided to use white silk that was already creased with fold lines and projected light from an iPhone (harsh, strong, white flash light) onto the back of a CD and also overlaid colored cellophane in order to create a wash of color and mesh to cast an array of shadows. We decided it would be best to find a space where there was not a lot of light in order for the use of high shadow contrasts and the colors of the CD and cellophane to be a main focus and use this notion within our favour for the final image. The movements from the silk suspended in the air created an interesting rhythm.

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Words & Images || WEEK 2

This tutorial provided us with an interesting and somewhat unique approach to story telling. Ella provided us with some paper and pencils and asked us to write a sentence – whether it be a story or just a plain sentence using the words she provided. At first, confused – I began to write a story. We went around the room and I was fascinated by how differently my peers interpreted the activity and it was a really intriguing experience. We were then instructed to create an series of still images, similar to Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetee‘ which we had viewed the previous week based on one our stories. We decided to go with Sarah’s story – which was one I thought was quite interesting as it was so different to my approach to the exercise. I also thought that it possessed the most potential for a poetic visualisation out of all of our stories.

I believe that as a group we were able to work cohesively and with each other’s strengths. With each member of the group having somewhat of a already visualised image or concept allowed us to discuss and storyboard strategically what our images would be to compliment the text excerpt. Although some of our images were quite literal in a sense (e.g. light = photo of a ceiling light), we knew when something was too literal too the point where it wasn’t creative or too obvious – this also help drastically with the way in which we began to take photos. Especially with the time given to us, I believe that we worked well within the given time frame and was able to create an interesting array of images.

However, that being said – my favourite image

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Photo used to represent ‘light’

was definitely the last one which was just a black square to symbolise death as it provided visual simplicity, and was conceptually deep and impactful. Through this, I realised that a possible exploration of expressing film that I would like to explore for this subject was the use of subject simplicity and content heavy visuals that really make a viewer interact or reflect and respond.

Through this, I began to reflect on my own understanding of the word ‘lacuna’ and how it has developed since the previous week. My understanding of the ‘lacuna’ has now developed where I see it as a space or proximity between people, people’s connections to others, places and spaces. I find that through this, I will be able to explore a much more conceptually poetic and artistic approach towards our final project.