Whilst deliberating my short film idea through my mind i couldn’t think of any stable narrative which i could place within my piece.
With this in mind i have decided to go with a new idea which would be more simple to achieve and have more logical meaning for the theme.
I want to produce a memory test piece that would have a participant who would be given a deck of cards to look through and recite back what the order of the cards are.
On the surface this sounds very simple but i feel that i could make it interesting by using ‘real’ people and not creating a ficitious scenario with a script (as i am very stale with my scriptwirting – to be honest!) And this wouldn’t be going into the avenue of being a magic trick either!
I would incorporate split-screen into my piece by having one side of the screen being the cards being seen by the tester (me!) and the other screen showing the person reciting back the cards.
I have never used split-screen before so this will be very challenging to do and if i can produce this to even an acceptable standard, i can develop it further by using a few more people for the piece as my participants.
My first initial idea for my split screen artefact for the last theme is to incorporate the effects of short term memory into a short video piece which would show two sides of ‘memory’ and ‘no memory’. This would be very influenced by Marc Webb’s ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ with regards to the split screen scene where we see the main character being shown in an ‘Expectations’ routine and the ‘Reality’ which he is experiencing with differs greatly from his expectations. For my piece i would try and depict a normal oridnary day which i would film twice with the character re-enacting the exact same actions but forgetting to do certain important things such as tieing his shoes (for example)
I would need to create a narrative which i could put within my piece for the next stage of developing this idea which would be going along the ‘No-memory’ and ‘Memory’ split screen element i want to incorporate into the piece.
The lecture for this week was online. We had to watch the lecture that the Wilson Sisters gave at the Architectural Association in London. This lecture comprised of the sisters talking about their work and how they produced it. This was a very interesting lecture to watch as it gave me an insight into what ideas i could pursue for my final major project.
The Wilson Sisters
Louise and Jane Wilson are twin sisters who are UK born film-makers (who started out in art and not media!) and use a range of techniques for their film pieces working with video projections, photographs and even incorporate 3D sculptures alongside their videos.
Some of their pieces include:
‘Stasi City’ (1997) –
“A psychological exploration of the mute, abandoned architectural spaces of the Stasi, the former headquarters of the East German secret police. For five minutes, a video camera slowly and deliberately pans through the building’s hallways and interrogation rooms, invoking the long history of abuses that took place there, as a human figure floats gently upwards unpinned from the laws of gravity. The four channel video installation is shown on opposite corners of the enclosed installation space, reinforcing a sense of confinement and surveillance.”
A majority of their work is based around ‘the human experience’ and includes aspects such as “The power of the unconscious mind, collective anxieties and phobias, arouses unwanted memories, and reveals things which are usually repressed.”
(Description & pictures Courtesy of http://empac.rpi.edu/events/2010/spring/zerogravity/catalog/wilson/)
‘Unfolding the Aryan Papers’ (2009) –
This piece is based around an unmade Stanley Kubrick film which only had a script and some pre-production photographs that are incorporated into the installation piece. They use an actress called Kristina; who would of been the lead in the unmade Kubrick film and in particular looks at the relatiponship between herself and the costume designer Esma who both share some common elements in relation to the Holocaust…
How they incorporate memory into their work…
Within their pieces they use ‘Memory’ to signify a new meaning behind subjects and places such as ‘Stasi City’ which (as described above) gives an insight into this historical and disturbing location that holds very disturbing memories for the people who were held there under difficult circumstances.
‘Unfolding the Aryan Papers’ also looks into memory by using (as once again described above) an unmade Kubrick film and revisits the un-made film and its main character, who is re-visiting her past in relation to a film that she didn’t get to star in.
Its the ‘re-visiting things for a second time’ that lays the foundations within the Wilson Sisters work and even if we as the audience aren’t ‘re-visiting’ a place or situation that we have been in before, we can have a feeling of being placed somewhere that has some historical past and has memories (good or bad) hidden away within itself.
For our last artefact for the 360MC module we have to base it around the theme of ‘Memory’ with the obstruction being to incorporate a split screen element into the piece.
To gain a better understanding of how split screen works with regard to narrative and presentation i shall be looking at certain examples within film or even a scene within a film that uses split screen to put its narrative across to the viewer.
One of the first films that i think of with relation to split screen is ‘Timecode’ (2000) directed by Mike Figgis and starring Salma Hayek. The film consists of four screens that each depict a certain character within its narrative. The basis for which it is set like this is presented within the trailer with the questioning behind the film being:
‘Would you like to hear what people say when you leave the room? Would you like to watch your friends as they stab you in the back? Would you like to know where your lover goes after they leave your side?’
The tag line really sums up the style in which the film is filmed and presented as:
‘Four cameras. One take. No edits. Real time.’
This next example isn’t a whole film which split screen is an element of like the previous example but it uses this technique in an interesting way. The scene is from ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ (2009) directed by Marc Webb.
It poses the ‘expectations’ that the main character has of re-kindling his love for a girl who broke his heart against the ‘reality’ of what is actaully happening within the setting which defies his expectations which we are watching at the same time.
Another of my favourite films that also uses split screen technique is ‘Requiem For A Dream’ (2000) directed by Darren Aronofsky.
This is used to show the action that is the mother on one side of the door and the son in the living room trying to take his mom’s television set away. Seeing both charcters in their seperate areas really does give effect with regards to emotion and no cutting in between of this which i would feel would lessen the effect.
Perhaps or without a doubt the most prolific director to incorporate unique and stylised scenes within his films is Quentin Tarantino. In particular the one scene which uses split screen is in ‘Kill Bill’ (2003)
In this particular scene we are watching Uma Thurman (characters name unknown or simply known as ‘The Bride’) lying in a comatosed state when an assassin named Elle Driver is in a seperate room preparing; dressing up in a nurses uniform and preparing an antidote before entering the brides hospital room.
This gives a sense of being in two places at once and doesn’t have cutting in between the two places.
Independant/experimental film pieces
Whilst going through Google Creative Labs and looking at the different film pieces i found this particular video which takes split screen to a whole other degree using multiple screens to join together people in completely different locations and countries as if they are right next to each other. It is a music video for a band called SOUR and the song is called ‘Hibi No Neiro’.
I really like how it incorporates different people into the same video such as making a face using the bottom and top halfs of a face using four different people that looks like it matches up almost seamlessly. And also how the people are doing the same actions and almost are choreographed to fit in with the finished visuals of the video.
From seeing how split screen has been incorporated into main stream and independant film pieces, i want to look at how this popular technique was first formed.
“The technique first started out in a very complicated and old-fashioned way of creating a split screen technique. You had to use an optical printer to combine the two images by copying them onto one negative.”
“Several early films that featured this technique started off as early as 1903 but it can be first seen to of originated in the 1960’s with films such as Paul Morrisey and Andy Warhol’s ‘Chelsea Girls’ (1966).”
“Throughout the decades the split screen technique has been used in many TV shows with perhaps the most popular being ’24’ which gave the show a ‘real-time’ element showing different characters and events happening at the same time and the audience being shown this through the use of two shots on the screen at the same time.”
“Also within the world of music video the technique of split screen has been used with the best known being Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ (1982) directed by Steve Barron. “
“Micheal Gondry used the split screen technique in an early music video piece he directed for a band called Cibo Matto titled ‘Sugar Water’ (2005)”
(Picture courtesy of http://danceonpaper.com/2009/04/15/video-craft-sugar-water/)
How does split screen work?
“Depending on what kind of video is being produced, split screen can be achieved by placing the camera in an area that will be easy to cut and attach the other side seamlessly – left and right. This is mainly for videos which include a clone of the main subject (so they would be both sat on the sofa at the same time for example)…or to perhaps give an illusion of there being more than two subjects!”
It can also be used within the post-production process if you want to place two images alongside each other (or however relevant to the narrative it would suit).
There are no limits to how it can be used and the future development of the technique can only get greater.
(Information/Research courtesy of Wikipedia)
In this weeks lecture we were introduced to our next theme – ‘Memory’.
As with the last two themes of ‘Power’ and ‘Spectacle’, this theme has a very broad meaning that can have a different purpose and meaning for different people.
We first looked at a very recent memorable event which was of course the 2 mintue silence and the proceeding memorial service for the soliders killed/injured in war. The idea of remembering and looking back always seems to take place in silence, as if words can distract us away from this even if it talks about the subject matter we are remembering itself.
The main two aspects of memory is our own personal memory; whether this relates to family, friends or anything that has a particular significance to us that we always look back on and remember; happy or sad.
A wider/social memory; such as 9/11 or any other such event that has had an impact on us as a whole country or even world, is one of the broader senses of memory.
Nick then talked about how media uses particular techniques and technologies and also styles of ‘remembering’ and ‘re-visiting things for a second time’, using film, audio, photography and many other things besides to look back on many memorable events. Referencing back to 9/11, an event that is the most recorded and viewable historical event, has a vast range of thousands of clips that either people have recorded on their mobile phones and news broadcasts from worldwide that have recorded and captured this event.
Media can be used to escape the here and now; and as Nick describes: “The technologies give us the means by which to escape the present and consider and reflect on the past outside of the time in which the events happened themselves”.
Nick showed us in the lecture some examples of how different film-makers use the theme of memory in their own pieces.
‘Alice’ by Jan Svankmajer
I really liked how this piece uses a fairytale for the basis for memory. The way it has a dark look and feel to it which retracts away from the original children’s story of ‘Alice In Wonderland’.
‘Solaris’ by Andrei Tarkvosky
This piece really puzzled me with the actual narrative for the film but i did like how the ‘otherworldly’ elements really came out at you.
‘Sans Soleil’ by Chris Marker
Out of all the lecture material we were shown i really liked Chris Marker’s in particular. The way he uses a narration over the top of images that don’t have any intended element that comes across with memory using any strange camerawork or any intention of trying to make it look strange like the previous two pieces.
My take on ‘Memory’
My first initial take on this theme relates to more of a personal memory angle and looking back through photographs and reminiscing about the time within the picture.
The range of different films and their creators that have used memory as the focal point for their work comes in many different guises. Old or new, memory has always been a subject matter which has had a significant effect on us as a viewer and influence us to look back on our own memories.
Some of the films that i indentify the theme of Memory with includes these examples:
This Michael Gondry directed film called ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’ (2004) starring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, looks at memory in a personal way with the a company that can erase memories which you would rather forget. The style of of Gondry comes across very broadly.
This Christopher Nolan film called ‘Memento’ (2000) looks at memory in a very unique style, with the main character trying to discover the killer of his wife with the problem of having no short term memory. He instead goes through the film (which is edited backwards so the end is at the beginning and vice versa.) following the tattoos he has all over his body to find his wife’s killer.
Both of these films have had a lasting effect on my memory with remembering certain scenes and even music within the films. They are both very powerful with putting the theme of memory across. They also both relate to personal memory which is the take i want to pursue for my artefact.
After many complications and time clashes i have now produced my Spectacle artefact.
I based this around the idea of suicide and the private yet spectacular nature of such an event. I was originally going to use a model with which i would place within the location but after running the idea through my head constantly, i then decided to not use a model whatsoever. I felt that this would add an air of mystery to the pictures and get the viewer guessing as to who the person is-just going by the location and any of the signifable props that i placed within the frame. ‘The Power of suggestion’ is how i would best describe my pictures.
I was originally going to use a track by Mt Eden called ‘Sierra Leone’, that i thought would fit the piece perfectly but whilst editing i decided to use a track by a choir group called Scale and their cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. I felt the lyrics and feel of tone of the track fitted better with the visuals.
Ater editing my piece together i definately noticed what shots i could improve upon and what other locations i could of used for my piece.
As a first piece or draft for the theme i feel that i put the theme across in a different way to what perhaps most other people think for spectacle. I wanted to produce a piece that would have an element of uneasyness and leaving the viewer guessing to who the subject – invisible within the picture; is and the reasoning behind it all.
In my first initial description for this. It is a private spectacle. Not in the way of drawing a crowd or causing disruption, but in the sense of inflicting a scenario onto yourself and the re-percussions of emotion and grief which it embeds into both family and friends.
The following research is what i have undertook in relation to my Spectacle artefact. I have looked at the following research:
(Picture courtesy of http://www.thecaselawfirm.com/)
I have researched into the laws and regulations for photographers taking pictures within a public space. The link below gives a good overview over the rights for photographers and various links that allows you to view articles and actual laws that relates to photographers taking pictures within public spaces.
The Metropolitan Police have a useful webpage about the laws surrounding photographing and filming within public spaces.
The main law that is focal is the ‘Terrorism Act 2000’, which basically says that the Police must be vigilant against suspicious behaviour (such as photographing a bank for example) and do have the power to stop and search an individual if they are suspected of being suspicious.
One of the excerpts from the rules and regulations courtesy of the Metropolitan Police that is relevant to my work and how this could be affected.
“Officers have the power to stop and search a person who they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist. The purpose of the stop and search is to discover whether that person has in their possession anything which may constitute evidence that they are a terrorist.
Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to discover whether the images constitute evidence that the person is involved in terrorism. Officers also have the power to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects may constitute evidence that the person is a terrorist. This includes any mobile telephone or camera containing such evidence.
Officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search. Deletion or destruction may only take place following seizure if there is a lawful power (such as a court order) that permits such deletion or destruction.”
(Photography and section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000)
- ‘Innocent Photographer or Terrorist?’
(BBC News Magazine – By Tom Geoghegan. 17th April 2008)
Amidst my fears of taking pictures in Birmingham City centre i have been doing some research into ‘photographing in the city’ (my exact Google search) and found this article entitled ‘Innocent Photographer or terrorist?’ by Tom Geoghegan, which is about a photographer called Phil Smith, who was taking pictures in Ipswich of the christmas lights being switched on, when he was approached by a police officer who then stop and searched Mr Smith and asked him to delete the pictures.
(Photo courtesy of link below)
The article then goes into detail about the struggles that photographers face with regards to being approached by police officers within public spaces for taking photographs, and being on high alert in regards to terrorism and any action or movement that a person takes that then gets mistaken for a terrorist act.
This relates really well to the photographs that i want to take for my spectacle artefact, which would be within a public space and this would potentially be a risk.
- ‘Officers claim they don’t need law to stop photographer taking photos’
(The Independent Online – By Jerome Taylor. 28th June 2010)
An interesting article about how a 16 year old boy was stopped by police after taking pictures of an Armed Forces Parade in London.
Jules Mattsson fought his corner telling police officers that: ““I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn’t for editorial use.”
- “Photographer films his own ‘anti-terror’ arrest”
(The Guardian Online – By Paul Lewis. 21st February 2010)
A photographer who was questioned under ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation and was arrested after police claimed the pictures he was taking in the Lancashire town (of a christmas parade) were ‘suspicous’ and constituted ‘anti-social behaviour’.
- “I’m a photographer, Not a Terrorist! protest”
(Photo courtesy of urban75 and the link above)
A protest that took place in February 2009 staged outside the Police Headquarters of Scotland Yard, to protest against the ‘harassment’ that photographers face against the Police and the law of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000.
Images of Spectacle
I have looked into the imagery and moments captured from spectacular events such as 9/11 and came across this picture which really signifies the extent to which people were trying to get out of the twin towers when the planes hit.
(Picture courtesy of http://www.esquire.com/fiction/book-review/delillo)
Entitled ‘The Falling Man’ (later titled by Tom Junod’s Esquire magazine article in 2003), this photograph was taken by photographer Richard Drew and became one of the most startling and shocking pictures from the 9/11 attacks. Theologian Mark D. Thompson described the picture as: “perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature, or even popular music. It is found in a single photograph.”
The photograph has been analysed and disected and this single photograph is one of a series that were taken that show the man gradually falling to his eventual death. The controversy surrounding this photograph from newspaper readers found the picture to be in bad taste and ‘disturbing’. In the documentary (embedded below) it was branded as: “Distasteful, exploitative, voyeuristic.”
The power of a single image can have a vast effect on emotions and how you view things from a certain perspective. You never know the full backstory or conclusion for a photograph and that is what i find most intriguing.
The Esquire magazine article where the title for ‘The Falling Man’ originated.
‘The Falling Man’ even had its own documentary made in 2006 by American filmaker Henry Singer and DOP Richard Numeroff, which trys to unravel and identify the falling man himself. It goes in-depth to how they eventually identifed the man as well as interviews with the friends and family of the man and also other people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks.
This has been an inspiration to how i could approach my photographs with regards to style and effectiveness.
Another photograph that never fails to shock me is of Rachel Whitear who overdosed in her home in 2007. This photograph has been widely used to support anti-drug campaigns, especially with regard to young people and the high risk of death.
This photograph really brings across the idea of how dangerous self infliction of chemicals and substances can be, and to me; this photograph can say so much without any words used to describe it. To me, this is another form of spectacle. From her own private isolation to the eventual police and ambulance crews that caused a wave of media attention.
The other aspect of controversial photography i looked into was from a very blunt Google search (‘suicide photography’) and it came up with a couple of photographs that relate to how i want to capture my spectacle moments.
This first one is from a a guy called hiJoju and from his blog:
Most of the other ‘suicide’ posed photographs were pretty emo-esque with razor blades and smudged eyeliner. The only photos that were actually very realistic include the photograph above and also this one which was posted on a very sexist forum entitled: ‘How do you fix a woman’s watch?’ and several ‘blokes’ being very sexist and not very original with women belonging in the kitchen jokes (bastards!):
(Picture courtesy of http://forum.ebaumsworld.com/showthread.php?t=303793)
I want to go along the same style of a suicide spectacle that the above images show. This would be a much more achievable and less risky way of getting the photographs for my spectacle artefact.
Suicide Rates in the UK
(Photo courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/28/suicide-rates-data-ons)
I researched into suicide rates and found some interesting articles in the Guardian online about how suicide rates are on the rise.
This article gives data into the suicide rates across age, gender and country. This shows that Men have a higher percentage of suicide compared to Women and with the economic downturns, this has had a huge impact on these figures.
I found the website below which has a very wide range of information on suicide such as prevention and in relation to gender, age, sexuality and the effect it has on family and close ones.
I think i may be going too deep into researching suicide and laws but it has given me a clear indication of how i can approach it, with regards to law within public space and also the sensitive subject of suicide.