Assessment Task 3: Professional Practice

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 Jacques Tati, we’ve decided to use a blank studio space and simplistic props to convey the cautious and stunted nature of strangers interacting. Through instructing our actors on what to do and how to act we explored aspects of artificiality driven with our uses of glitches and hand movements mimic the artificial scenes you see on TV. Minimalistic sound and colour, along with static camera angles and no dialogue force the viewer to engage in the awkwardness of the situation and be consumed by at times the uncomfortable humour. 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 leaving the boundaries of human interactions and personal space ignored.

Our project has really developed from our original intentions. As you can see from the progression of our blog posts, our goal has always been to explore human interaction, but our tools for depicting this have changed drastically.

I think the first standout has been the utilisation of studio space. We originally wanted to invade the privacy of random persons in order to survey their use of public space, reflecting upon how the viewer would feel as they interrupted their private space, despite the communal setting?

Hence, the organic nature of our project made filming difficult, and it was hard to find a concise aesthetic. Furthermore, we felt like there was very little space to explore the photographic and conceptual ideals from other film artists.

So, we moved on to our next idea. Using architecture and ‘wasted space’, we wanted to portray the importance of lacuna in design, and the irony behind terms such as ‘waste’ when talking about design (and then how this is symbolic of human interaction). When building houses, buildings, temples, workplaces etc., it’s impractical and dysfunctional to utilise every space; there is clarity and order in the blank spaces. So too does this apply to the physical and relational gaps between strangers. Boundaries, although negative at times (which we also aimed to explore. E.g. mega mansions) create a sense of safety and control.

However, this idea became too literal. Filming churches and gaps in architecture was going to be too difficult to evolve into a study of human relations. BUT it did directly feed into our final idea, so was definitely not a waste! And our original imagery of this provoked our clean, clear aesthetic.

So, we took a step back decide to look into European satirists. After surveying their film techniques and comedy styling, we decided to strip our film to a choreographed interaction in a studio. Particularly, (as seen in blog post before) Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati. We were inspired by their use of silence and non-diegetic sound. The orchestral tones are really vital to setting the mood, so we didn’t include any diegetic noises from our actual filming, but manipulated the bass guitar give an unnatural feel to our work.

Our two strangers were told to interact in a certain way in each clip. Our choreography revolved around the box, which served as our lacuna. The lacuna we explored (as seen in our concept statement) was the societally enforced rules around human interaction (hence, localised to first-world western situation). Their movements are stunted, and often unresponsive to the others situation.

The glitches are representative of communication breakdowns, and the constant fear of not conforming in the right way to social norms. (See glitches below)

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We also loved the way the camera stayed stagnant in a lot of Tati’s work, so the viewer focused even more heavily on each movement and expression of the human subject. His jolted and cautious manor builds awkwardness, making us laugh nervously as we’re unsure as to what he’ll do next. We hope to evoke these same awkward giggles from our audience, as they feel the pain of rigidity in the intermingling of our strangers.

Finally, our work forced our actors to move their bodies in unusual ways, creating a sense of vulnerability between us and them. Even the scratching of ones neck is not usually a public act, and as we sat and filmed, the level of self-awareness increased with the silence. Our collaboration has not always been smooth sailing, and out development of ideas has been long and slow, but we’re really excited with our final results. Our final video is below:

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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).

Final Week of Film Planning

We had a massive week this week in the lead up to our last class before the assessment is due. We’ve gotten lost with our direction at times (as I’m sure you’ll remember from our class discussion!) But Karina and Sunny put in a lot of work filming, and we’re really happy with the results, so are going to put in 110% of our efforts to turn the footage into a really raw film with a concise objective.

Below are the screen shots of original footage from this week:

Ella mentioned the comical side to our film, how the awkwardness/tension leads to humour, so we’ve looked into the film styles of French satirists Jaques Tati and René Goscinny. We’ve also been re-thinking our assessment question: it’s now less of a research into human movement/interaction, but rather a comical commentary of private people in public spaces.

The following screen shots are from the Kitchen Scene from Mon Oncle by Jaques Tati. It depicts him interacting with a modern kitchen, struggling to turns things on, dropping items, and so on. His inquisitions are always deliberate but innocent, and I think that’s what makes this scene so funny. The camera does not move, and I think that our film really bounces of this idea of minimalism to highlight a clear focal point.

The next images are from Charlie Chaplin’s work, The Lion’s Cage. Mr Chaplin is all about body movement and facial expression, putting himself into tense situations, and dramatizing his responses to a comedic level. This fragment of film is very fast paced, but slows down in moments of tension. The camera deliberately reveals to the audience what Charlie sees as he sees it (i.e. the fact that he’d run into a lions cage) giving us his immediately dramatized and comical response upon realisation. As a group, we can’t get enough of the body movements Charlie Chaplain employs, and how the direction and wideness of his eyes convey so much. Although the music is classical, it’s a really important study for us to understand the different methods that create tension and reprieve

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.

We also met up last night to re-format the order of our project, and what pieces of film we’re going to use. We feel a lot more confident about the flow of the film. Sarah and I also used instruments to form abstract sounds (influenced by Luigi’s work!) i.e. playing the bass out of tune/tuning it as we played, isolating different sounds on the drum, and getting a drummer to watch our piece and play along with it, forming stunted rhythms and sounds. We then are manipulating these sounds, we were really pleased with the way the drums (namely, high hats/symbols) sounded when slowed down and played backward.

Hence, our final steps involve editing the colour aesthetic on after affects, making the picture clearer and brighter. We also need to place the musical sounds where they belong. We have used cuts of footage interrupting other footage to stunt the flow of our piece, so are excited to aid that with percussive noises.

All in all, it’s been our most challenging week collaboratively, but I’ve been really impressed with our ability to move past the tough times and learn how to communicate more effectively. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the creative process with other designers, and I think this is a project we’re all going to have pride in due to the obstacles we’ve chosen to overcome.

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.