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Coursework 1 – Presentation

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

This is my presentation blog post for my 3 artefacts for ‘Power’, ‘Spectacle’ and ‘Memory’.  This gives an analytical, reflective & conclusive overview of my work over the term for the 360MC module.  At the start of this module i did feel very anxious with regards to coming up with ideas that i could develop into artefacts to present my ideas for each theme.

Artefacts

  • Power
  • Spectacle

  • Memory



1. Process/Development

  • Power

For my first artefact i chose to look at the subject of pro-creation and the how vast population is constantly growing.  This was purely going by my first and only idea for this theme as i struggled with trying to come up with an idea when we were first presented with the theme. With the 0.5 cutting obstruction i decided to use stop-motion animation as my technique for the piece which would help further my skills in using this technique.

I then developed my idea by deciding to use jelly babies and an assortment of jelly sweets to produce the narrative for my piece which would start off with two jelly babies coming towards each other and creating a further two jelly babies.  The reasoning behind this was purely because i felt that it would give the piece a nice touch with the ‘pro-creation’ side i was going to use within my piece and a very colourful way of presenting the piece too.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/power-artefact-ideas-etc/

  • Spectacle

I initally thought of basing the theme around an act of terrorism (such as a gun being taken out of a jacket in the middle of a busy environment) but the thought of being arrested and causing a ‘spectacle’ that isn’t intended would be a very risky move.  I was keen to base it around the spectacles that have been seen within the news with events such as the Columbine shootings and the Virginia Tech Massacre.  I looked at images and documentaries around the two high school events to try and get a grasp of what i could create within just a picture.

I developed my idea further and wanted to base it around something that would be in the same vein with regards to the disturbing nature of the piece and the development for my idea came from a personal and emotive influence which gave me something stronger and more motivation to produce for my artefact, and as a progression from my first initial idea.

The images that i looked at for my first inital idea:

Columbine shooting surveillance tape

(Picture courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk)

(Picture courtesy of http://bentcorner.com)

I thought the images that surrounded both of these terrible spectacles were very powerful with how they came across, especially within the media with the news and the images that they presented to show the spectacle that was these two horrific events.  When i was contemplating my initial idea i decided to go in a different direction but by still keeping it within the ‘shocking’ style of the theme, which would perhaps make people question the nature of my artefact.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/spectacle-artefact-idea/

https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/spectacle-progress/

Memory

I looked at some films that used split screen such as ‘Requiem For A Dream’, ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘(500) Days of Summer’ which was the film that gave me my first inital idea.  The scene that gave me influence was when the main character (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) is going to try and re-concile his love with Summer (Zooey Deschannel) and the screen is split into ‘Expectations’ and ‘Reality’. The actions and location are different to each other with what the main character is expecting and what actually happens.

(Image courtesy of http://500daysofsummer.tumblr.com)

From this influence i wanted to create a short film piece which would have split-screen throughout, which would consist of ‘No-Memory’ and ‘With-Memory’.  It would consist of the main character being at home and doing the same actions (such as making a cup of tea) and the scenarios for each screen being different with relation to having no-memory and having memory.

I tried to develop a narrative or a bit of context within this piece but i struggled so i decided to go in a different direction.

After talking about my first idea with a friend and wanting to develop and progress my idea for the theme in a different direction, i had the idea of producing a memory test that would have a  participant that would have a look through a deck of cards and then recite the cards back.

The simplistic approach that my idea took i think turned out to be the best idea to go with, as i felt i could make something stronger out of this idea than producing a low-standard short film that would be just a typical route to take.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/memory-artefact-first-idea/

https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/memory-artefact-progression/

https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/memory-artefact-more-progress/


2.  Research

  • Power

I wanted to look at this particular type of ‘Power’ as i felt that i could create something that would be interesting and to take the theme of power to another avenue with regard to it not being a physical strength of power but was instead something that we can all relate to as we are all created.

This was really the first and only idea that i came up with for the theme as i found it particularly difficult to think of anything.

(No Key Blog Post for this catergory for ‘Power’.)

  • Spectacle

The next point of research i went with was to look at ‘images of spectacle’ with examples being ‘The Falling Man’ from the 9/11 World Trade Centre tragedy and how this photograph really made you think (or did for me anyway) with regards to who the person was, what might of been going through their mind and the obvious repurcussions that the image had within the media that caused outrage.  I also looked at a very disturbing picture of Rachel Whitear, who Overdosed and the police image of her body in a fetal position still holding onto the needle that killed her really shocked me and came across as spectacle with how this would of been viewed by her friends and family.

the falling man Rachel Whitear

(Image on left courtesy of esquire.com)

(Image on right courtesy of dailymail.co.uk)

I then took a broader look by doing a Google search for images and the reuslts being very overly posed and emo-tastic.  This was definately not the direction i wanted to take with my photos with regards to style and effect.

To round off my research i looked at suicide rates and a couple of other avenues which would help me with producing my photographs. I looked into sucide across gender, age, sexuality and also the repurcussions it has on the persons family and what help they can find.  I felt i was delving a bit too deeply into my research and wanted to dive straight into producing my actual artefact.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/spectacle-artefact-research/

  • Memory

I went straight into the research by firstly looking at memory works and quite a few scientific explanations to do with neurons and other aspects that i couldn’t even recite back word for word!

The avenues which i went into with my research included looking at a BBC documentary which looked at how memory works from early childhood to late adulthood.  This was very interesting as it had real-life stories and gave a very wide view of the different aspects to memory instead of just purely scientific explanations.

One of the parts of research which i wasn’t expecting to undertake was into the World Memory Championships, which consist of 10 events that eventually lead upto a world champion being crowned.  The types of event that this olympic style ‘sport’ gave me some influence as to how i could incorporate a test-type context into my artefact, which i had before-hand but it only made my idea stronger with regards to the relation to memory.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/memory-artefact-research/

3.  Analysis

  • Power

From my idea and the development of how i wanted to produce my piece, i wanted to practise with the style of using  my jelly babies as the subject with which to present my idea of power.  I thought this was an interesting avenue with which i could take the piece.

The research i tried to undertake for this idea really took me to a dead end with the research i tried to undertake firstly included searching for ‘pro-creation’ and relayed results of religous content that i looked through and felt was really was irrelavant to what i was doing for my piece.  This really agitated me as i wanted to produce research that i could use to back up my idea of ‘Pro-creation’ being a form of ‘Power’.

After testing out my first shots within the development stages of producing my piece, i wanted to produce a fresh and visually appealing artefact that would present the theme in a way that would be interesting to watch.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/power-artefact/

  • Spectacle

I decided to develop my first idea by basing it around suicide and the private spectacle that it has on the person and the obvious grief and emotions that it has on the friends and family of the person who has commited suicide.  I can see how this subject matter would perhaps not be seen as fitting with the theme of ‘Spectacle’ , but for me personally i wanted to show how it can be.  The ‘power of suggestion’ became the main staple point for my pictures as using a model didn’t work out with time schedule clashes.  This turned out to be a very interesting avenue to take with my pictures as this would set more questions within the viewers minds as to what the story is within the pictures, instead of just producing photos with a posed subject that would just tarnish the mystery of the piece.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/spectacle-artefact-piece-summary-analysis/

  • Memory

I based my artefact around a memory test that is a part of the World Memory Championships.  This is the ‘Speed Cards’ challenge and i made my artefact based around this.

More of an advertisement for the test, i initially wanted to produce a ‘speed cards’ style test with a willing participant and incorporate the split screen within this having the cards on the one side of the screen and the participant on the other re-calling the cards.

I decided to start off with this inital artefact with which i could develop it into a full finished piece.

Key blog post: https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/memory-artefact-piece-summary-analysis/

4.  Evaluation/Reflection

  • Power

Looking back at the artefact i have produced for ‘Power’ i feel that i have produced something that goes really well with the theme and the ‘Pro-creation’ side which i wanted to initally produce for the theme.

The feedback i received for my artefact was very mixed as some people didn’t understand how my piece related to power whilst other people found it funny and a fresh video to look at with the colours.  The big let down for my piece was having no audio over the top of the piece, which from scouring the internet looking for a simplistic and child-like theme (to fit in with the nature of my piece) i found nothing that i thought would be suitable.

I planned to further improve my piece by recording my own audio which would be a simple xylophone tune which would fit in nicely with my piece, but due to time restrictions and trying to stay on top of all my other work i couldn’t create the audio.

I would also perhaps re-shoot the piece so that the images are alot sharper with an SLR instead of a digital camera.

Key blog post: (On same post as ‘Analysis’) https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/power-artefact/

  • Spectacle

After editing my pictures together, along with some music by a choir group called Scala and their cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, i felt that i had produced a good piece for my second artefact.

When i looked back at my piece a few times for my analysis i pinpointed what aspects i would change to further improve within my artefact such as experimenting with my shots a bit more and what other locations i could of used for some of my scenarios.

The feedback i received off my lecturer Mez was very positive with the audio and how it was a tricky subject to base around the theme of spectacle.  Improvements to the artefact would be to put some effects onto the images (such as distressing or the colouring) to make it come together alot better.

For example:

I would further improve my piece by taking this feedback on board with using effects on the photographs as well as my own analysis and reflection of using more locations to further expand the piece.

Key blog post: (On same post as ‘Analysis’) https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/spectacle-artefact-piece-summary-analysis/

  • Memory

Looking back on my artfefact for ‘Memory’ i noticed how i could develop my piece further.  From my first initial idea of having a participant and incorporating the split screen element, i wanted to create this video as an advertisment for the theme, incorporating ‘How quick is your memory?’ and ‘Test your memory’ being the main staple advertising points to put into the piece.

I could of used a participant for the piece as part of the advertising aspect of it instead of just cards being rifled and shown to the audience, but once again i couldn’t fulfill this idea to the fullest due to time restraints.  I definately know what i would improve within the piece such as having audio (I was going to use the ‘Countdown’ theme tune for the piece but thought this was a bit cheesy!) and also incorporating the split screen element into the piece.

It is a basic artefact and i know that i can develop upon this and it has given me an idea of how to approach my final project with regards to researching and developing ideas to produce a strong piece of work.

Key blog post: (On same post as ‘Analysis’) https://charlotterowley2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/memory-artefact-piece-summary-analysis/

5. Conclusion

Conclusion for my 3 artefacts

Looking back at the 3 artefacts which i have produced for the module i feel that i have gained skills with researching ideas (minus the power theme which i struggled to find any research!) and developing my idea into something that has more substance.

Starting off with the ‘Power’ artefact i feel that this is my weakest piece with regards to the lack of research i was unable to find to connect my idea of ‘pro-creation’ to ‘power’.  I feel that this weakens my artefact in the aspect of research and development but feel that my actual artfact was interesting and definately improved my skills in stop-motion animation.  The critical feedback which i received for this piece was mixed with the positive being that it was an interesting and quirky video and the negative being how did my artefact relate to power?  I think that this mixed feedback has helped me to consider my ideas fully with regard to how i develop them and produce something that i can back up with the relevant research.

‘Spectacle’ is i think my strongest artefact as i used in-depth research into particular and specific avenues such as photography laws, images of spectacle, developing my idea and then undertaking more research to back up my developed idea as a whole.  The critical feedback that i received as a whole was positive with how i approached the theme of ‘Spectacle’ and using a subject matter such as suicide to relate to the theme.  Producing this artefact has given me new skills in photography and framing shots in an artistic way instead of just taking standard normal shots which have no focus or subject matter to show a narrative.

My last artefact for ‘Memory’ proved to be a mixed idea with regards to what i initally wanted to do and then completely changing my idea into something that i could actually achieve within my piece.  I felt that i had a stronger idea with my artefact as it has more relation to memory but perhaps not in a very experimental manner.  From showing my piece to a few friends it was again a very mixed response with the positives being that it was visually captivating with how the cards were being shown with the shots i used and how it was a a pre-cursor to what i could produce for a follow up video piece.  The negatives were minimal in comparison to the positive feedback i received with the main negative being that it didn’t really have a narrative and just seemed to be an advertisment for testing memory and not displaying memory as a whole.

From all the feedback  i received for my 3 artefacts,  i can see it from both sides as to how i have presented my pieces and how i can use both aspects of feedback to improve my skills in researching, developing and ultimately producing a strong piece of work.

Memory artefact – Piece, Analysis, Evaluation & Reflection

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Here is my artefact for the theme of ‘Memory’.

Artefact

Analysis

I based my artefact around a memory test that is a part of the World Memory Championships.  This is the ‘Speed Cards’ challenge and i made my artefact based around this. 

More of an advertisement for the test, i initially wanted to produce a ‘speed cards’ style test with a willing participant and incorporate the split screen within this having the cards on the one side of the screen and the participant on the other re-calling the cards. 

I decided to start off with this inital artefact with which i could develop it into a full finished piece. 

Evaluation & Reflection

When i was editing my piece together, i noticed how i could develop the artefact further, by firstly adding audio (I was going to use the ‘Countdown’ theme music but thought this would be too cheesy!) and also to add something else into the video, maybe some more shots of the cards being shuffled and put it all together so that it is a continuous piece instead of being in between titles.

 I do feel that i have made an artefact that can be developed further.

Memory Artefact – More development

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the weekend, i had a practise with my new camera which has High Definition to see what shots would look best in my piece.  Whilst doing this and reviewing the footage over i thought that for a starting artefact i could set up the test, as in the flashing of the cards as a starting point for which i could develop my artefact to having a participant.

This is going along the same lines as the tutorial videos for the memory tests that are on the Memory World Championship website that i looked at within my research.  This gives an overview of the test and how it is scored.

http://www.screencast.com/users/Mindwerx/folders/National%20Memory%20Championships%20-%20Event%20Insights/media/353c8955-d2ca-4b86-a5e7-4b7cc654c672

The ‘Speed Cards’ test is a mentally challenging test that has the participant memorising not one but two decks of playing cards to be recalled in the same sequence. 

So with this in mind i am going to create a starting video which will set up the challenge.

With regards to the split screen element that we have been given as an obstruction, i do not feel as if i can incorporate it within this first initial artfeact as i want to put it within the actual test video.  I feel that i would just be putting the split screen within the piece for the hell of it and i don’t want to do that!

I feel that this would give me a good starting point for which i could develop on my artefact.

360MC – 02/12/10

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

 

In this lecture we looked at a range if different film-makers who use a range of techniques to put the narrative across and to captivate the audience.

Jan Svankmajer – ‘Little Otik’

This very surreal stop-motion animation film is based in the Czech Republic and is based around a fairytale about a couple who can’t have a baby and the husband digs up a tree root which is in the shape of a child and quickly grows into a murderous and greedy ‘thing’. (I really would not know what to call it!)

(Picture courtesy of http://www.franksfilms.com/little-otik)

The Coen Brothers – ‘Burn After Reading’

A star-studded film line-up starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich amongst others.  This film has an interesting story arch which links all the characters together with the underlying secret CIA information that is found in the locker room of a gym playing the most important role with how it all comes together and especially with the ending.

‘A Serious Man

Perhaps one of the fairly under-rated Coen Brothers film with limited release within the UK (I managed to be lucky enough to catch it at the cinema!) Based around a man who’s life seems to be going from bad to worse, the film is based around a man’s journey to try and salvage what he has.

The story arches which these films hang off are really strong with regards to how the narrative is put across to the audience.  Whether it is based around a fairytale or myth or a journey of self-discovery, great films that can use these themes within their narrative really can captivate an audience.

I am thinking of perhaps going along the same avenue of pinning my final project basing it on a fairytale.  Little Red Riding Hood perhaps…

Memory artefact – Research

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I have started off my research into memory and with relation to my piece by firstly looking at how memory works.

The science…

When i first initially typed in ‘how memory works’ it mostly came up with compter based memory such as ‘How RAM works’ and even memory cards so i opted to go onto youtube to try and find something more relevant.

I have quoted a very scientific explanation of how memory works.  Its In a very foreign language but sounds smart enough to pass for a scientific explanation.

“When we learn something new, neurons in the hipacampous (?) forge strong connections by sending electro chemical messages across the tiny gaps between them called synapses.  Essential to the strength of the connection is the movement of electrically charged particles of calcium dridting through the synapses.  When the particles stream into a neuron they trigger chemical changes that make the connection more reliable.  The calcium flows through a molecule to the gateway of the neuron, the NMDA (?) receptor”.

(Courtesy of Youtube Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vrVXWjKdQo&playnext=1&list=PLDD929B3A8D959A9F&index=1)

The BBC Science & Nature website

This website has a very informative and easy to understand explanation of the technicalities behind human memory.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/index.shtml?intelligence

It has the different avenues of memory with questions such as:

Q.  Will ‘exercising’ my brain with sudoku puzzles preserve my memory?

Q.  Is it possible to implant false memories?

Q.  Why do some songs get stuck in my head?

Q.  Why do i have such clear memories of what i was doing on 9/11?

All these questions are posed within the main BBC site and answered on the BBC Radio 4 site which has a very informative and interesting section dedicated to memory.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/memory/

 BBC Radio 4

(Picture courtesy of http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=10399)

…To a more understandably human explanation

Our memory is made up of two parts of our brain.  Short-term and long-term memory.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/science-technology/sheldrake-morphogenic-field-memory-lashley-collective-unconscious-3486.html)

These two forms of memory differ greatly to each other with reagrd to short-term being in the form of something that we are told or have seen that can pose little signifigance to us and long-term being something that is much more towards personal and much more significant memories.

BBC Horizon Documentary

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/broadband/tx/memory/

This BBC Horizon documentary entitled ‘How Does Your Memory Work?’ from 2008 looks in-depth at how memory is developed from birth and childhood right through to the latter stages of human life.

How does your memory work?

(Picture courtesy of BBC link above)

It also looks at some very interesting real-life stories such as a woman who has her most traumatic memories wiped away just by taking a pill and a man who has no memory at all.

It was very interesting to see just how in-depth you can go into memory and the amount of progression that there has been in both technology and also medicinal methods to stretch and even fix memory.

World Memory Championship

world memory championships 2009

(Picture courtesy of http://www.fuzz2buzz.com/en/node/1054)

This very extraordinary championship/olympic style event was founded in 1991 and has crowned a plethora of champions over the years with the competition this year being held in China from December 3rd.

The competition comprises of 10 events which each test the width and bredth of the competitors memory.  The events include:

1.  Abstract images

2.  Binary numbers

3.  One hour number

4.  Names and faces

5.  Speed numbers

6.  Historic & future dates

7.  One hour cards

8.  Random words

9.  Spoken number

10.  Speed cards

To see just how difficult each of these events are, there is a video explanation of how each test works.  No video links are available but the website link is:

http://www.fuzz2buzz.com/en/node/1054

The official website for the World Memory Championship:

http://www.worldmemorychampionships.com/index.asp

Other avenues of research…

Some of the avenues of research that i have undertook for my memory artefact includes some interesting memory tests that i have found via youtube that range from the interesting to beyond extraordinary. 

This particular memory experiment that was undertaken in 2007 at a Japanese university, tested the memory of young chimpanzees which showed that their photographic memory is far superior to humans. 

BBC news article about the experiment:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7124156.stm

Humans with extraordinary memory

Whilst browsing on Youtube i searched for ‘memory champions’ to try and find some interesting videos to inspire me as to what tests i could undertake for my artefact.

This first video is courtesy of the BBC and looks at memory and how it works (in a less complicated manner) using dominoes as an example as to how memory is stored and how it is retrieved.  The memory champion from 2002 gets put to the test when he has to try and remember the exact position of each card in 10 decks!

Professor Robert Winston then gets taught the technique for memorising

I am going to use this type of test for my piece but it would mainly be the participant getting everything wrong :/ but i would be purely be undertaking this test in a serious enough manner that this wouldn’t really be an issue.  It’s relating to the ‘power of memory’ so that should be enough to suffice for my idea.

Using a deck of cards would be the best route to take and the influence of the video’s above have put me into the creative position of creating this simple test using just a deck of cards and a willing participant. Now i need to go and find a full deck of cards!