Final week / Filming

After a stressful few weeks , Haesun and Karina booked a studio and filmed 2 actors to portray our new concept. We felt out old concept about clutter space and chaos was giving us limitations in what to film. So we decided to let go of our pre conceived ideas of what the film should look like and start filming and see what happens.

Below are the screen shots of original footage from this week: (BEFORE EDITING)

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We are yet to add sound into it as chloe and I are working on sound and editing of the film. After screening a preview of our film and getting feedback from other class members it became apparent that there was quite a comical side to our film we all over looked.  Ella mentioned to look into the film styles of  French satirists Jaques Tati and René Goscinny as further research into this can help us reframe our concept and hypotheis to relate more to our film.  Is our new concept about less of a research into human movement/interaction, but rather a comical commentary of private people in public spaces?

After talking with ella we all watched the following screen from  Mon Oncle by Jaques Tati.

 

 

The following scemce depicts him interacting with a modern kitchen. He is struggling to come to grips with the working of the kitchen and finds himself dropping things and banging into thinks. He appears to be making innocent mistakes just like our actor in our film when he walked into  the cube.  They used sound to highlight this funny moment a incorrect buzz like sound that we could also adapt in our film.

Feedback from class members from our pre screening Below.

 

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Our new Research Question: 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.
Answer: 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, dramatizing 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.

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

Melancholia Sequence Exegesis

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.20.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.20.42 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.20.59 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.21.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.21.19 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.21.30 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.21.45 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.21.55 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.22.06 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.22.21 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.22.30 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.22.43 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.22.52 pmScreen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.23.00 pmThere is a distinct blue hue to this final 30 seconds of the film. The tones grow colder and colder as the film progresses, and this final scene is the paramount expression of this. The characters sit outside under a symbolic shelter, holding hands as the planet strikes earth. The frames capture close-ups of our three characters, revealing their firm grips of one another’s hands, their looks of terror and acceptance, and the tightly shut eyes of the son/nephew, as he braces the impact with terror and bravery.

There is no dialogue, only non-diegetic music. It consists of a powerful/swelling orchestra, building tension and revealing the largeness and finality of the situation. The brass instruments overtake the strings forcefully in the final seconds of this scene (i.e. the movie itself.)

The characters are somewhat still, but the large mass from space grows slowly but surely larger (an on-going method in the movie. It’s an ever-present threat, one that the viewers and characters are unsure if it’s going to engulf them, or simply pass by).

The editing is simple, yet effective. As the white, bright light of destruction encompasses the screen (and flames overtake our characters), there is a moment where one can see their burned, helpless figures as they all face death.

This is the ending we all feared, but were unsure would actually happen. The threat of the foreign planet is an impending danger from the beginning, much like the melancholia that we see in the private life of Justine. It’s a force that poses a slow-burning destruction, giving the viewer a sense of uneasiness and despair. It’s a resolution that defies the normal, a resolution that is the worst possible case scenario. The utilization of tone and saturation also acts as a really conclusive visual aid. The blueness and dreariness of faces, foreground and background show the total envelopment of the colliding planet, which in my opinion, symbolizing the all-consuming nature of our main figures depressive state, and the destructive effect has on all in its path.

I think the director has used a hyper-realistic portrayal of a sci-fi idea as a more symbolic and large-scale representation of a dysthymic struggle. The other-worldly CGI planet is designed seamlessly into an earthly situation (although the time period is unclear, with almost period-era dress but contemporary technology). Hence, the grey line of then/now/later and realism/unrealism forms a really unique design aesthetic, bringing to light a physical illustration of mental struggles. I also found the music a really strong aid to the camera techniques. There are often really high-quality, slow-motion action shots, with still characters amidst a dystopic and destructive scene. The music is grand and reminiscent of a simpler time, one that we envy our grandparents for. A time where families would dress up for the opera or an orchestra, and be taken to world where sound and mood romantically interplay. Utilising this motif amongst a fractured family situation, and in particular, a character crippled with misery creates an eerie contrast of beauty and brokenness.

Research Video

This is a short research video we made from about 30% of what we filmed this week. Our main purpose was to capture personal elements of people from their public personas. Hence, our iPhones are shaky, unclear and zoomed. This invasion of privacy is meant force the viewer into a sense of uncomfortable voyeurism as they enter the space they so often avoid on the streets, on the bus, in the shops, and so on.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Gondry and written by Kaufman, explores the tenuous nature of love, loss, and memory. The plot revolves around Clementine (Kate Winslet), and Joel (Jim Carrey) , In the beginning they meet in Montauk on the beach, and start to fall in love. As the movie progresses, it’s revealed that they were two lovers who had had their memories of each other erased. As Joel’s memories of Clementine turn backwards he realises that he doesn’t want to lose them and wants to try again. Lacuna is the name of the company in the movie that erases the memories.

Throughout the film, the mood varies from melancholy and depressed, whimsical and romantic, to panicky and nervous. One of the most prominent and my favourite scenes in the movie is a sweet and peaceful moment that occurs on the frozen Charles River with Clementine and Joel on their “second date.”

The dark, open space surrounding Clementine as she stands on the frozen river and beckons Joel forward is symbolic of the open possibilities and mystery that surrounds her. Joel, has a more detailed background of trees, which shows his  nervousness as he’s about to jump into this new situation.  As they both venture out onto the ice and lie down, only Joel and Clementine and the ice are visible. To the left of them, there is a rather large crack in the ice. This crack is symbolic because it represents something being amiss in this seemingly perfect moment.

 

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The natural silver light that is present in the scene is assumed to come from the moon.  A soft light seems to be produced from Clementine. Technically this can be argued because of the light coloured clothing she is wearing juxtaposed against the dark night. However it can also theoretically represent the inner light and full of like Clementine as a character possess. The filming in this scene appears to be of a hand held camera style of shooting . This gives the feeling that you are there and you are watching this scene take place. This shooting style is kept even as Joel and Clementine lie on the ice.  Through analysing this scene I became aware that the camera is actually moving in the slightest bit although to the un trained eye it would look as if the scene was at a standstill point in time and perfect.

The music in this scene is important as it starts out with just just ambient noises making the audience pay attention and creates a mood of wonder. I was able to notice the importance of the silence due to researching sound for our film as breaks of sounds is a technique we use in our film to keep the audience interested and guessing. As the scene progresses, romantic music begins to play, heightening the visual connection that Joel and Clementine are experiencing.

This film allows you to choose the ending. Joel and Clementine are happy in the end, but the viewer has no idea whether that’s temporary or not. So, this movie effectively splits people up into two groups: those who believe Joel and Clementine will learn from their mistakes and be happy together, or those who believe that it’s inevitable that they will be unhappy again. Eternal Sunshine is about how happiness from ignorance is not happiness at all. As a viewer I learnt from this film that pain is necessary. You have to acknowledge that when you fall in love, you aren’t agreeing to be happy. You’re agreeing to be vulnerable.

 

The Guardian. 2017. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: No 8 best romantic film of all time | Film | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/16/eternal-sunshine-spotless-romance. [Accessed 17 May 2017].

The Cinephile Fix. 2017. Film Analysis: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” | The Cinephile Fix. [ONLINE] Available at: https://cinephilefix.com/2012/11/17/film-analysis-eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind/. [Accessed 17 May 2017].
** screen shots of film via  netflix **

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.

Task 2 Research/Planning

This post is an exploration of our artistic/filmography muses, as well as a practical update as to what we’re taking charge of individually and collectively.

First of all below are phone images of snippets of short art films. They’re wonky, grainy, blurry and messy. The background noise is often just the murmurs of a crowd or the hollow sound of an empty street. Our project is focusing on human interaction; the spaces between humanity, and the way in which we create tension/shy away from intermingling with persons we don’t know.

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The first images depict two people separate, moving closer, then further away. The scene then cuts to two persons really closely connected and intertwined. They travel slowly but fluidly. There is a beauty to their movement. The strong red hue blurs the lines between flesh and background, create an otherworldly feel.

I find the next piece of work really inspiring as a way of using light and colour to portray feeling, rather than the human body. Even though our whole piece is designed around ones physical forms, this is due to unspoken societal rules and the inner conversations of ones mind. Hence, the slow, blurred shape (possibly a car?) we see here brings an emotive awakening that transcends just the bodily form.

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Perspective. The adjustment between wide shots and close-ups; human form and architecture are other tools we’re aiming to use. Allowing one to zoom out into a wider context (and also starving the viewer of context at other times) can be super symbolic. For example, we’ve talked a lot about the deliberate utilsation of negative space when designing homes/buildings. It has a purpose. How then does this contrast to the negative space we see in human interaction every day? How can we explore these purposes? Are they alike at all? And if so, how can we use the camera to reflect these similarities?

In terms of roles, our entire group are taking responsibility to devote time to filming. We’re doing it in groups of two’s, three’s and four’s, using public and private space to convey our concept. Using the recontextualisation of private objects in public spaces, we’re aiming to film the physical responses of people, exploring why this is the case?

We’re also all exploring sound. Haesun has already created two sound loops, and I’ve played with the background noise from our last filming session (altering speed, pitch and tone). So we plan to collaborate once filming is finalized in order to choose what best suits our work. However, it will most likely be derived from the human noises revealed to us every day.

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.

Luigi Russolo – Risveglio di una Città

Song: Risveglio di una Città (1/13)
Album: Die Kunst Der Geräusche (1913)
Artist: Luigi Russolo

This work is an extremely clunky, avant-garde piece. It starts off with cluttering drums and the whirring of a car engine. After a slight pause, one is then introduced to a different sounding engine; smaller, like that of a motorbike. Another pause, and the crackling of a record becomes the backdrop to the sound of a faster vehicle. You can hear the gears changing as it moves about. As the speed increases, so too does the pitch as it gradually get uncomfortably higher and higher. It then finally slows down again. One then hears a new sound, the rumbling of an old engine. Possibly made with the pulling of strings/wires, creating a flat yet playful noise. Each new sound is broken up with the record player that has reached the end of the disk, but the needle has not been lifted off: dull, scratchy and repetitive. It ends with a futuristic noise, again, reminiscent of a homemade string instrument. I can also imagine the artist restricting the strings on a violin and grinding a rough bow across the tight threads, creating the piercing, high-pitched that pierce the listener’s ears.

This particular piece was released in 1913, at the time of the industrial revolution. Russolo is thought to be the first noise artist, and was part of the Italian Futurist movement. Something that I’ve found interesting when investigating this artist, is his historical context (i.e. the introduction of scientific thinking) and yet, his interest/obsession with the occult. The rising of factories and machines clearly fed into the sounds and feel of Luigi’s work, and his ingenuity in his instrumental inventions could also be credited to this era as well. Russolo had a peculiar relationship with the supernatural and the logical, as did a surprising amount of scientists and occultists alike at the time, “generating terms such as ‘scientific occultism.’” (Chessa, 2012) Hence, in order to understand Russolo’s practice, I think it’s vital to look through his historical/cultural/spiritual lens. He clung to the idea that “the universe [was] an organism animated by mysterious and supernatural forces, [yet] new scientific discoveries… shows that idealism, positivism, and materialism gave too restricted a vision of natural phenomena and the cosmos.” (Chessa, 2012) Hence, the futurists set about investigating the spiritual realm with the aid of new technology, rather than dismissing one or the other. The invention of the X-Ray machine was a prime example of proving metaphysical territory with physical tools. Luigi said asked, “Who can still believe in the opacity of bodies, while our acuity and multiplied sensitivity makes us intuit the obscure manifestations of mediumistic phenomena? Why must one continue to create without taking account of our visual power that can give results analogous to those of X-rays?” His fellow futurists agreed that mankind had the capacity to engage in X-ray-like clairvoyance to view the otherwise unseen pieces of reality (for example, the luminous projections of a persons mind, and seen as their ‘aura’. (Chessa, 2012) Hence, I believe that Luigi’s thought life due to his contemporaries was the most vital context that fed into his practice.

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I think that Russolo’s inventiveness in his practice is the most astonishing mark he’s left on the art world. Not only did he create a new form of expression, but used physical instruments (that he had mostly constructed himself) to allude to physical and metaphysical ideals. He “organized noises into six basic categories, from “rumbles and roars” at one end to “shouts and screams” at the other.” (Rotondi, 2002) As shown in ‘Risveglio di una Città’, the artist brings to light how vitally relevant the sounds of the city (i.e. “throbbing of valves”, “the pounding of pistons” and “the clatter of streetcars”) are to the modern man. He wrote, “We must break out of this narrow circle of pure musical sounds and conquer the infinite variety of noise sounds. Today, noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibilities of men… [it’s my goal to] add to the great central themes of the musical poem, the domain of the machine and the victorious kingdom of electricity.”

It is no secret that Luigi Russolo pioneered the systematic poetics of noise (and credited by some as the author of the synthesizer). So I’ve chosen the piece ‘Apostrophe’ by Pierre Schaeffer from his 1949-1950 symphony ‘Symphonie pour un homme seul’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2o9VyuJSD4), which is a musical piece utilizing both instruments and found noise to create an alarming, yet encapsulating piece. Not only does the artist admit to being influenced by Luigi’s practice, but also like Russolo’s work ‘Risveglio di una Città’, there is a consistent crackling of the record player in the background. Schaeffer uses the human voice, manipulating it to be nonsensical. He uses a higher amount of traditional instruments, but creates music unlike what was popular in the 1950’s. Eerie, sharp notes on the piano intermingle with a male voice and a tribal drumbeat, before a heavy disruption is caused with the rattling of bottles and crashing of found objects (and it sounds like traditional drums as well). Below is an image of his mixing desk:

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Hence, it’s evident that Luigi Russolo paved the way for sound poetry to be utilized as a post-modern expression of city life, and in the case of many futurists, the link between the scientific world and the spiritual realm.

REFERENCES:

Chessa, L. 2012. Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult, University of California Press.

Rotondi, J. 2002. ‘Luigi Russolo’, Emeryville, vol. 4, no.11, pp. 90.

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