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Power Artefact- Idea (Process & Development)

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

For my power artefact i first thought of creating a piece that would be looking at the caffeine/energy drink aspect of being able to regain your mental and physical energy through a drink such as Red Bull.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/15-07/st_redbull)

The stimuli for basing ‘Power’ around this was from my own personal experience of drinking quite a lot of Red Bull and the feeling of having the power to do anything (well perhaps not anything!) but gives more of a power boost with which i can focus and get tasks done.

My idea was to do a stop motion piece which would focus on one can of Red Bull and then we we would see the can crushing…this is the only form of storyboarding that i have had :/  With this in mind…

IDEA 2

The next form of power which i am planning to create the artefact for is reproduction and the ever growing population of our planet.  This is very powerful as everyday there is someone who is giving birth to a brand new human to join our funny little planet, which they will grow with over time.  I find this very scary in some ways, as the population of the UK is ever growing and we never really bat an eyelash at how swamped the world can sometimes seem.

Bassetts Jelly Babies - 215g Bag(Picture courtesy of http://www.picknmixsweetshop.com/bassetts-jelly-babies—215g-bag-588-p.asp)

For this i would use jelly babies as the representation of human kind and follow through the process of falling in love (?) and eventually giving life to another baby.  This sounds very weird in word form but i had the vision of creating something that would be quite tongue in cheek with the element of using jelly babies but then it would have the underlying message of the power of the ever growing population-which would be signified by a then vast amount of jelly babies that have been reproduced through the first two jelly babies…im going to need a hell of a lot of jelly babies!

One of the videos which we were shown in our first official lecture that influenced me with this idea was Jan Svankmajer’s ‘Meat Love’.  This short stop motion piece is beautifully done with two pieces of steak which fall in love and then eventually get sizzled to death.

I have already started to storyboard the piece in my minds eye (it does exist!) and over this weekend i shall storyboard it onto paper and place on this blog.  I also  need to get a vast amount of jelly babies as well as a few pieces of card with which i will stage the piece.

Narrative

the narrative would be based around two beings (in jelly baby form) meeting and eventually creating another being (in the form of a gummy bear) and the fast progression of the population.  As the piece needs to be at least 1 minute longish i am going to do this in stop motion form and the eventual conclusion of there being a mass amount of gummy bears that swarm the  area/frame.

The related research which i shall use to back-up creating my artefact will be human reproduction and the population (sometimes growing and sometimes not) of countries and the effect this has upon the economy (?)

I think i will enjoy creating my artefact and hopefully can refrain from eating all the jelly babies :/ (im not promising anything though!)

Procreation is the most powerful action two creatures can perform as its from this one act that their entire species exists to this day.

UPDATE

Over the weekend i filmed my Jelly Baby pro-creation stop motion and have a full 20 seconds to show for it!  When i was editing my artefact i decided i was not happy with my piece as i had trouble with focusing my camera which kept focusing on the white card when the jelly babies were out of the frame.  I know why this happened but it did frustrate me as my camera hasn’t failed my yet!  Also, i felt my piece (20 seconds of it anyway!) was perhaps quite a hard to follow video in terms of what message of power it is trying to get across.

I have been researching into what other forms of jelly confestonary i could use for this piece (seriously) as i have noticed how there is not much definition of a jally baby like their used to be (it sounds sad how i notice these things) and the result of this is…

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Just one of those days…

October 26, 2010 2 comments

Without resorting to using my university blog as a form of therapy i am not going to go into great detail about how much i have been struggling with my motivation and determination at the moment. 

I have no idea where this has stemmed from but feel this is affecting me achieving my absolute best in my penultimate year at university.  At the moment i feel that i can’t find a creative outlet with which i can use to get this frustration out. 

I have been stressing with my power artefact as when i was editing my piece i realised how crap it was.  It is only 20 seconds long and i know that i can create something to a much higher standard.  I am going to attempt to re-do my artefact instead of just giving up alltogether.

Watch this space…

360MC Lecture/workshop – 21/10/10

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

In this weeks lecture we looked at some of the different sides to power and how it can not always mean to be a threatening violent force.  The many different aspects to the theme is what i initally struggled with during my summer research and not being able to pin down an area of ‘Power’ to develop an idea around.

A strong force of Power that we were shown included a couple of videos that showed women taking power against not being allowed to vote.  One clip in particular shows the protest at the Miss World contest of 1970 which was sending a powerful message of how women shouldn’t be used as ‘cattle’ by being in a competition such as Miss World.

 Episode image for Miss World 1970

(Picture courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tkpc1)

Power can stretch out into many different areas from the very simple to the very dangerous.  On the simple side of power we were shown the power of group pressure with the example being of an elevator with people who would turn different ways and the unsuspecting person who enters the elevator copying the other people.  This video is a very good example of how we always pretty much conform to society and we always follow the right or correct way of things.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.logopedics.info/images/stockp/elevator-experiment.jpeg)

On the other end of the power spectrum we were shown a shock doctrine trailer by Naomi Klein.  This very disturbingly interesting video portrays the rise of capitalism and how shock treatments are used on people within pyschiatric hospitals.  This video did go straight over my head to be honest as i don’t really look into areas such as economics or politics (?) But i did like how the video had shocking imagery to get across the message.

naomi-klein-shock-doctrine

(Picture courtesy of http://theactivist.org/blog/%E2%80%9Cthe-shock-doctrine%E2%80%9D-overrated-like-brett-farve-antonio-negri-david-beckham-apple-pie-and-dane-cook

Overall this weeks lecture was very interesting with the different aspects that ‘Power’ can take on different situations.

The great train robbery…

October 23, 2010 Leave a comment

For this lecture we watched the black and white film ‘The Great Train Robbery’ (1903)  We watched this short film as it was the first film to ever use what we call ‘editing’, or just a film that cuts from one scene to the next.  The shots used are pretty basic and give a very non-insider view to anything within the film such as characters or location.  We as the audience are just purely watching as if we are in a theatre.  There is no sound that is used to accompany the piece, but a musician would play whilst the film was playing-so you had a concert and a film rolled into one!

(movie Still from The Great Train Robbery,” 1903. Photograph courtesy Library of Congress. http://www.ettc.net/njarts/details.cfm?ID=468)

After watching this we were given the task of re-editing any part of the film to a standard with which we would see within a modern film.  We chose to re-edit the first scene when the train robbers burst through the door of the station masters office and end up tieing him up and robbing the train.  For this we storyboarded and scripted the camera shots and cuts which we would use for the scene to give it a modern film style, so with close up shots and movement of panning and nice cuts as well.

This was a good practise for putting together our own edit of our final piece, whether this would be the primary school closure video (with around 6 hours of catalogued footage!) or to create our own short piece with which we can edit together a nice and narratively and visually pleasing piece of video.

Intro Lecture & Seminar 15/10/10

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Lecture – 15/10/10

In this first lecture for 305MC Analysing Media, we were introduced to the themes of Power, Spectacle and Memory (yet again!) which have been the catalysts for which we are basing all of our work around this term.  This is a very good way of broadening ourselves into other modules and focusing on the same themes instead of having to do 2 completely different pieces of work that have no connection.

The essay question which we have to produce a 3,000-3,5000 word essay for and which we were given to ponder over was:

 “Choose a current issue/debate/controversy & analyze how it is informed and determined by Power, Spectacle and Memory within contemporary mediated culture.”

On first impressions i honestly couldn’t understand the question but after reading the question a few more times, i managed to get a grasp of what it actually meant.  We were shown a clip from the opening ceremony of the 2008 Bejing Olympic games which pretty much encapsulated the 3 themes.

Over the following lectures we shall be looking at the different themes and looking at case studies of news and events (such as the olympics) and can start to build an essay plan which we shall receive feedback from before we have to hand in our finished essays on December 10th.

Seminar

This very brief seminar in the afternoon was used to put ourselves into ‘research clusters’ with which we would work within to undertake research and do presentations for the different themes.

The first theme which we are to do a presentation for is Memory.  For this we have to create and present an object with which ‘should evoke strong memories of important times/events in our lives.  As a cluster of 5 people we only need to have one object, so firstly we each told the rest of our group what objects we have that follows this.  After deciding what object we would create a presentation for, we shared contact details such as e-mail and wordpress blogs to view each others research.  We then planned to meet up next week to go through what way we would create our presentation.

As i have done plenty of different types of presentation, i personally tink we should do an AV presentation which would have a narration of the memories and feelings toward the object.  This would be very achievable to do by next friday and if scripted out and done correctly will be a nice starting point for which we will be able to progress with each presentation.

Categories: 305MC Analysing Media

360MC Lecture/Workshop 14/10/10

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Lecture – 14/10/10

In this first lecture with Nick he talked about Lars Von Trier’s ‘The Perfect Human’ and the ‘5 obsturctions’ pieces by Jorgen Leth.  We watched through the videos and talked about what obstructions Von Trier put on Leth’s films which tested his former teacher’s filmaking style and methods.  To be honest, i wasn’t that much impressed with the pieces as i thought they seemed to be quite pretentious. Whether this was due to me not looking at the films in a more analytical view is perhaps where this critical view comes from. 

I was interested to hear what obsturctions were placed on Leth’s 5 videos such as Obstruction 1 only being allowed to have 12 frames before a cut and being filmed in Cuba.  Obstruction 4 perhaps posed the most challenging out of the pieces as Leth was only allowed to work in the medium of cartoon animation which he isn’t the biggest fan of! 

These pieces were shown to us to inspire and challenge us for our first theme of Power and the artefact which we would create based around this theme.  The obstructions put in place were to only be allowed frames/shots lasting 0.5 seconds for around a minute or just over.  With this in mind we were then shown a couple of stop motion videos which each had a unique take on the theme of power.  My personal favourite was Jan Svankmejer’s ‘Meat Love’ (1989) which explores relationships right through from beginning to eventual death, with the weirdly intoxicating use of two pieces of meat. 

I immediately contemplated using stop motion as the medium with which i would undertake this challenging task.  This is because the frames can only last for 0.5 seconds each so producing a stop motion piece would (in my mind) be the best option to take.

  I still needed to decide upon an aspect of Power which i would base my artefact around and the workshop after this lecture would be a good time to decide upon this.

Also in this lecture, Nick talked about some interesting aspects of power and in particular ‘The Panopticon’ by Jeremy Bentham who talked about ‘the perfect prison’ and the psychological effect that the Panopticon tower – which is right in the middle of the prison and in full view of all of the prisoners had upon the inmates.  They always had the feeling of being watched and so were always on edge with what they did.  This can be related to the TV show of 10 years (and no more hopefully!) called ‘Big Brother’, which had mass effects upon the housemates who were constantly being watched within a house.

Big Brother logo

(Picture courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/tvandradioblog/2007/aug/13/isanyonestillwatchingbigb)

Workshop

In this session we talked about how words can have very powerful meanings and we each had to say 5 words which we consider to be power.  For my words i could only immediately think of 2.  These were:

1.  Truth

This has always been a powerful thing to me as it can be taken as a two way thing.  We either can be truthful or not (to put it very bluntly!)  Without going too deeply into this word, i think that we can sometimes choose to not tell the truth-perhaps to save from hurting sometimes feelings or to protect ourselves.

2.  Family

This is the most important aspect of my life as having had problems in the past, family can never judge or disown you however much you fuck up (which i have done quite a lot!) and the unconditional love which family comes with is the most powerful overall.

Afterwards we talked about what ideas we had regarding our Power artefacts and to be honest i had no idea at this point what my idea was!  We have until a week this thursday (21st) to show our pieces so i better get my skates on!

Theme 1 – Power

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

From my summer research work this theme was most definately the theme that i struggled to develop ideas around.  I think my pitfall was over-analysing the theme and jumping into all the different elements of it instead of focusing on just one aspect at a time.

the perfect human

(Picture courtesy of http://lilokpelikula.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/the-perfect-human-j%C3%B8rgen-leth-1967/)

For our first task to get our minds and ideas rolling for this first theme we had to look at Lars Von Trier’s short film from 1967 called ‘The Perfect Human’.  This short was used as a catalyst with which Trier set his mentor/tutor Jorgen Leth the challenge of re-making his short but in 5 different ways/obstructions.

I watched Trier’s ‘The Perfect Human’ first and then watched Leth’s 5 obstructions in response to this first film.  To be honest i didn’t understand the point of any of these pieces-which i watched several times to try and perhaps catch something in the way of obstruction and understanding the pieces themselves.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.ambathen.um.dk/da/menu/Kultur/Arrangementer/Ambassadens+arrangementer/Kulturprogramforefter%C3%A5r2009.htm)

I liked how Leth used a more inventive and visually stimulating way of presenting the quite bland piece by Trier and giving it more depth in the way of location.  In the way of obstructions i could not honestly say that i could spot anything in the way of these.  I think the pieces were quite pretentious and whether i am being close-minded would perhaps be a part of this.

I know that we have been given these pieces to create a stimuli for which to develop our own ideas but i can’t say that Trier or Leth’s pieces have inspired me in any shape or form :/

In the upcoming sessions we have to produce pieces for the three themes starting off with ‘Power’.  We have been told that there is no limit as to what we can produce so we can even produce a photograph-but it would need to be properly produced and not just a random image. 

Hopefully the lecture this week will perhaps open my mind further as to what these short film pieces are actually about! and influence me with my first artefact.