What is lacuna? Week 1.

The definition of the noun lacuna in English is :

1 An unfilled space; a gap.
1.1 A missing portion in a book or manuscript.
The definition of lacuna in  medical terms:
2 A cavity or depression, especially in bone. [1]

The term “Lacuna” derives from the Latin for “hole” or “pit from lacus lake. It was first used to describe missing text and appeared in Lauderdale Papers (1884) [2] Sir Robert Moray wrote: “You do well to leave no lacunas in your letters”.  Gaps in manuscripts (lacunas) can be done intentionally and unintentionally. Often decay and weathering to old passages of text can be responsible for lacunas. Alternatively lacunas can be used on purpose for example children’s books often have words missing in sentences blank spaces underlined for the student to them fill it in for educational purposes.

My interpretation of a lacuna is the modern day intentional use of lacuna to create a or enhance a human emotion whether its suspense , mystery or confusion.  Music in history has often used lacunas as a extended passage in musical work during which no notes are played. The most famous example of this is John cages piece (4’33) that I consider a piece made entirely out of lacunas. [3]

A more modern example is Radio heads use of lacuna in their “Motion Picture Soundtrack”, the last track on the album “Kid A” . Radiohead’s use of heavy music is juxtaposed with this 2 minutes of silence . The song is 6:56 minutes long with silent gaps from 3:15—4:18 and 5:08 till the very end 6:56. Radio head have used lacuna as  “negative music” to create a sense of serenity and build tension and it is a strong contrast to the “normal/heavy”  music that plays after the silence and in the rest of the album. This forces the listener to pay attention and reflect on the way the song is delivered and performed rather than just the beat and music. [4]

After researching the term lacuna and its definition as well as examples of how it is used. I am taught the important of silence and gaps and the idea that having nothing there effectively making the  listener or consumer come up with thoughts to fill the gap can be more effective in creating more off an impact. Silence and forcing someone to reflect with their own thoughts can  or be me more powerful than filling it with with your own pre convinced thoughts.

[1] Oxford University Press. 2017. English oxford dictionaries: Lacuna. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lacuna. [Accessed 1 March 2017].

[2] Full text of “The Lauderdale Papers”. 2017. Full text of “The Lauderdale Papers”. [ONLINE] Available at: https://archive.org/stream/lauderdalepapers01camduoft/lauderdalepapers01camduoft_djvu.txt. [Accessed 1 March 2017].

[3] YouTube. 2017. John Cage’s 4’33” – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTEFKFiXSx4. [Accessed 3 March 2017]

[4] YouTube. 2017. 10. RadioHead: Motion Picture Soundtrack – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ju8xO_Zvfo. [Accessed3 March 2017].

La Jetee by Chris Maker (1962) and In class photo montage.

The film “La Jetee” by Chris Maker in 1962 is a science fiction film/photo montage and tells the story of post nuclear war experiment involving time travel. Scientist research time travel and aim to send human test subjects to different time periods. They have difficulty finding test subjects “disappointment for some, death for some , madness for others” this quote revealed that past subjects weren’t mentally strong enough to time travel. Finally they found a man who was a prisoner who they believed was mentally strong enough to handle the experiment. The prisoner has a memory from this pre war childhood of seeing a women and a mans death on a the observation platform. This memory is strong enough for him to effectively time travel. After the time travel is a success he meets the women from his past and develops a relationship with her, he is then sent to the future. Chris uses a scene of floating heads to demonstrate the difference between the future past and present. He is then given a power unit to regenerate his destroyed society .After his mission is a success he fears he will be killed by the scientist who made him time travel. He asks to be returned to pre war time to escape but more importantly see the women again. He spots the women on the jetty at the airport in the past and runs to her but is killed by his jailors him his final moments.

Fig 1 :Prisoner in his final moments








La Jetee is made up of black and white pictures with almost a documentary sort of feel. There was no dialogue in the photomontage apart from a few mumbles in another language the photo montage had a voice over the entire time with was able to keep you focused on the images whilst thinking about the story in your head. The use of rhythm in the film proved to be very important, for insist in the experiment phase when the prisoner was going through pain to achieve time travel the back ground music was a fast heart beat that kept getting faster and faster as he felt more pain and then would stop when the image changed. This created the feeling of fear and grabbed my attention.


Janet Harbord a British film scholar attempted to unravel the film La Jetee mysterious in her book called “One work”., Harbord the editing, called the film “a work of post-production”. Once she examined the editing of the work. She describes Le Jetee as not just a science fiction tale with a eerie twist but but also a contemplation of time, memory and mortality.

In my group task were to create a photo montage of a group of text we were to create from a list of random words that were listed out to us. The words that were to be included in the story were balloons, maps, missing information, green, bomb, light, water, email, sorry, emoji’s, garden, remote, fights, chase, goldfish, sky and backpacks. My text turned into a stream of consciousness that was essentially about killing anyone who liked balloons, maps or wore backpacks.

To then demonstrate this in a photo montage proved difficult. With an hour and minimal resources, I was pleased with our results. We produced a PDF of 15 black and white images to tell the story. With taking photographs we didn’t want to be too obvious and try and keep the photo montage without any people in it just objects that could tell a story. For example, We choose to take a photo of a lamp post when trying to represent a balloon. We used curtains mid movement to symbolise water as they both have similar wave

Figure 2 – Curtains mid wave to show water.

when they move. Our video montage could have been more effective if it was done on a video loop so we didn’t have to manually change screens. Also from “La Jetee” I learnt that music or even background sound is very important in create mood such as excitement and danger which with more time we could have included in our montage to create a better finished product. My favourite part of our montage was the final image of a black screen to symbolise death.



Harbord, Janet. Chris Marker, La Jetée. 1st ed. London: Afterall Books, 2009. Print.

Lawrence, Levi. “‘Chris Marker: La Jetée’ By Janet Harbord”. latimes. N.p., 2009. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.

Figure 2:  Vimeo. 2017. “La jetée” by Chris Marker on Vimeo. [ONLINE] Available at: https://vimeo.com/46620661?width=1080. [Accessed 17 March 2017].

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

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.

Lost in Lacuna || WEEK 1

noun: lacuna; plural noun: lacunae; plural noun: lacunas
  1. 1.
    an unfilled space; a gap.
    • a missing portion in a book or manuscript.
  2. 2.
    a cavity or depression,

My initial understanding of the word ‘lacuna’ was somewhat of a vague definition – simply, a unfilled space. Although vague, I believed that it provided with me quite a broad approach towards the subject and what was possible to achieved through film.Pulp-Fiction.jpgOur in class activity allowed us to explore other creatives’ visions and perspectives and their interests. The image I chose was a scene from Quentin Tarrantino’s 1994 film ‘Pulp Fiction‘. What I really admired about the image was the visual simplicity of the scene, however it was quite content heavy in regards to their conversation. What I found interesting visually about the scene was also the use of colours, as it wasn’t too visually busy, with the hint of candy apple red and hints of blue from the signs contrasted with the black. What also added interest to the scene personally was the fact that the positioning of the camera was outside of the car window, therefore an extra barrier was created with the viewer and the lights reflected onto the window were showing on top of the characters.Image-001.jpgMy initial understanding of the ‘lacuna’ was further developed after the first lesson and viewing of Chris Marker’s film ‘La Jetee‘. The film explores an experiment of time travel, constructed of singular images rather than a moving image. A looming theme throughout the film is the idea of the psyche and fragmented reality and imagination. An admirable trait of the film personally was the visual simplicity of the film and its’ effectiveness of how that intensified the effect of the film. It was a visual illustration of time, whilst cultivating auditory senses – through the use of interesting yet simple sounds such as the constant thudding which built the ambience, long pauses which allowed the viewer to reflect and process, and create their own interpretation of the film. An interesting takeaway from the film that I noticed was the mix of genres in regards to the visuals and themes suggesting influences of horror, thriller and love.

Ultimately, after the first tutorial, I am excited to see the possibilities and channels we will be able to explore throughout the project in search of the lacuna.

La Jetee. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Pulp Fiction. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.